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Vol. II 


SECOND EDITION . *?) ^/i -y 




191 2 







1. Gruffydd ap Llywelyn 357 

2. The Normans and the Welsh March 371 

3. The Normans in North Wales 378 

4. Rhys ap Tewdwr 392 



1. The Struggle at its Height 400 

2. The Predominance of Powys 411 

3. South Wales under Henry 1 423 

4. The Subjugation of the Welsh Church 447 

Note to § iv. — Bishop Sulibn and his Family .... 459 


1. The Recovery of Gwynedd 462 

2. The Great Revolt 469 

3. The National Awakening and the Church 480 

Note to § iii. — The Alleged Archbishopric of St. David's . 486 


1. The Rivals of Owain 487 

2. The Victories of the Sons of Gruffydd ap Rhys . . . 500 

3. The Triumph of Owain 505 

4. The Literary Revival 523 




1. The Greatness of the Lord Rhys 536 


3. Wales in ii88 : Climax of the Power of Rhys .... 564 


1. Old and New Leaders 573 

2. The Rise of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth 587 

3. The Monastic Revival 590 

4. Welsh Society in 1200 604 


1. The Rivalry of Llywelyn and Gwenwynwyn .... 612 

2. The Fight for the Freedom of St. David's 623 

3. Llywelyn in Conflict with John : Peace of Worcester . . 631 


1. From the Peace of Worcester to the Kerry Campaign . . 655 

2. From the Kerry Campaign to the Pact of Middle . . . 669 

3. Wales under the Rule of Llywelyn 682 

4. Closing Scenes 692 


1. The Struggle of David for Independence 694 

2. Wales again in Subjection 706 





1. The Conquest of Powys and the South 716 

2. Llywelyn and Earl Simon 729 

3. Peace and Supremacy 74^ 

4. The Downfall 754 

Genealogical Tables 7^5 

Index 773 


Medi/bval Wales End of the Volume 




(In a paper on " Wales and the Coming of the Normans," included in the 
Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion for 1899-1900, I have 
discussed in some detail the events of the period 1039-93, snd I may perhaps 
be pardoned if I refer the reader to this essay for a full account of the evidence 
on which I have relied in writing this chapter. As an appendix to the paper, Ann. 
C. MSS. B. and C. for this period are printed in parallel columns from the original 

I. Gruffydd AP Llywelyn. 

Both in England and in Wales events were ripening in the CHAP, 
middle of the eleventh century for the revolution known as the ^^' 
Norman Conquest. Instead of the ruin and devastation caused 
by the attacks of a savage enemy who could not be overthrown 
and yet knew not how to turn his victories to any beneficent 
purpose, there was to be submission to a foreign foe who with 
the yoke imposed order and civilisation. But, notwithstanding 
the likeness of their fortunes in this respect, the two countries 
were governed during the years which preceded the coming of 
Duke William by men of a very different temper, and the 
difference affected vitally the course of the ensuing struggle. 
England had as king the half-Norman Edward, a foreigner by 
breeding and in sympathies, who familiarised the English with 
Norman ideas and institutions ; when the combat came, it was 
fierce, but short and decisive, and the Norman invaders soon 
became absolute masters of the country. Wales was during 
the same period under the sway of as striking a personality as 
any to be encountered in Welsh history — a strong and passion- 
ate ruler of men, who struck boldly for the national cause and 
rekindled the dying fires of patriotic enthusiasm. In Wales, 
therefore, the battle between the new-comer and the native raged 
obstinately and long and left the Norman in possession of a 

VOL. II. I 357 


CHAP, portion only of the field for which it had been fought. The 
Norman Conquest of Wales was not, indeed, completed until 
long after the name of Norman had been merged, so far as 
Britain was concerned, in that of Englishman. 

After the meteoric careers of Llywelyn ap Seisyll and 
Rhydderch ab lestyn, there was a return, both in North and 
South Wales, to the ancient dynasties ; lago ab Idwal, a great 
grandson of Idwal the Bald, was chosen to rule over Gwynedd, 
while Deheubarth acknowledged the lordship of Hywel and 
Maredudd, grandsons of the Einon ab Owain who fell in 984. 
This was, however, but a brief triumph for legitimacy, for in 
1039, after a reign of six years, lago was slain by his own men, 
and the only son of Llywelyn ap Seisyl^ who bore the name 
Gruffydd, stepped into the position which his father had once 
filled with such distinction.- 

Border traditions, preserved by the facile pen of Walter 
Map, have handed down a vivid portrait of Gruffydd ap 
Llywelyn, of which the clear-cut outlines in nowise run counter 
to the facts recorded of him in history, but rather derive con- 
firmation from them. As a youth he was, we are told, sluggish 
and unadventurous, given to loafing around the paternal hearth 

and insensible to the charm of a dangerous enterprise a lad 

whose want of spirit seemed disgraceful to the kinsfolk who saw 
in him the natural successor of his father as king of Gwynedd. 
But one New Year's Eve,^ driven out of doors by the reproaches 
of his sister, he had an experience which wrought his conver- 
sion into a bold and strenuous warrior. The night was a night 
of signs and omens ; in many ways might a man learn on this 
last evening of the year what should befall him in the coming 
twelvemonth, and Gruffydd chose the least perilous, that of 
eaves-dropping. He planted himself against the wall of a house 
where a company were intent upon the process of boiling large 

1" Cum sis unicus et haeres regis " {De Nugis, 97). For Map's evidence 
see Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 127. 

2 " laco ri bretan a suis occisus est," say Tighernach {Rev. Celt, xvii p 
378), Ann. Ult. s.a. 1039 and Chron. Scot. 1037 (= 1039). Only B. Saes. (a 
late translation, be it remembered) asserts the complicity of Gruffydd. 

3 " Nocte ante circumcisionem," says Map {De Nugis, ut supra) but he 
probably confounded the Celtic and English New Year's Day. The former was 
ist November, and its eve was a recognised time for seeking omens {Trans. Cymr 
1899-1900, 128). 


pieces of beef in the family " callor " or cauldron. " Strange," CHAP, 
said the cook, " but here is one piece which, however firmly I 
drive it down with my fork, always persists in coming to the 
top." Gruffydd drank in the words, convinced that they were 
prophetic of his own future, and from that moment was another 
man ; what taunt and reproach could not do was brought about 
by the spur of ambition and the vision of coming greatness. 
The man who thus attained the full measure of manhood in 
a moment of transformation was cast in a large mould. He 
had courage, persistence, a quick imagination, the tyrannous, 
masterful spirit, impatient of all rivalry, and — what is often 
found in conjunction with this last — a cordial and easy manner, 
the expression of a nature at ease in the confidence of its own 
strength. Neither in love nor in war would he brook any effort 
to supplant him, and young men who might grow to be a men- 
ace to his power were marked for destruction. But his wit 
played like a lambent flame around the darker aspects of his 
career. " Speak not of killing," said he, " I do but blunt the 
horns of the offspring of Wales, lest they should wound their 
dam." Nor was he without those generous impulses which 
often redeem the violence and cruelty of passionate, forceful men. 
Map tells the tale how, on the occasion when Gruffydd and 
Edward came together to negotiate a treaty of peace, neither 
would at first cross the Severn to meet the other, lest this should 
be construed as an admission of inferiority, until at last Edward 
threw dignity to the winds and entered the ferry-boat, whereupon 
Gruffydd, completely won over by this humility, plunged into 
the waters to meet the boat, embraced it fervently as it came 
up and carried the king ashore on his shoulders. One whose 
better nature could be thus aroused by the sight of virtue 
in others was clearly not altogether the tyrant and man of 

In 1039 Gruffydd became king not only of Gwynedd, but 
also of Powys (unless, indeed, he was already possessed of 
this region), and he was thus enabled at the outset of his reign 
to strike a blow at Mercia which by its boldness and vigour 
drew attention at once to the rise of a new power in Wales. 
At Rhyd y Groes on the Severn, a ford in the neighbourhood 
of Welshpool, the situation of which cannot be more precisely 
indicated, he suddenly fell upon a Mercian army which had no 



CHAP, warning of his approach and inflicted upon it a crushing defeat.* 
Its leader Edwin, brother of Earl Leofric of Mercia, and other 
men of note were slain, and so complete was the victory that 
Grufifydd had no need to guard its fruits by assuming the de- 
fensive, but was able to pass on to other designs. The stroke 
was such as to raise the Welsh king forthwith to the position 
he occupied in regard to England until the year of his death — 
to make him the terror of the border, portentous and in- 
vincible, against whom reprisals were of little avail. 

For the next few years Gruffydd's chief concern was to 
make himself master of Deheubarth. Maredudd ab Edwin 
had been slain in 1035, and it was, therefore, with Hywel ab 
Edwin he had to contend, a prince who, as representative of 
the ancestral line of the district, was by no means easy to dis- 
lodge. Gruffydd attacked his territories in the year of Rhyd 
y Groes, invading Ceredigion and ravaging the lands of the 
church of Llanbadarn Fawr, and the sudden onslaught was for 
the moment successful. But Hywel was soon able to recover 
his position, as may be seen from the fact that he met Gruffydd 
in battle in 1041 ^ at Pencader, near the spot where Dyfed, 
Ceredigion and Ystrad Tywi meet. The king of Gwynedd 
was the victor and carried off his defeated rival's wife — a deed 
which, though duly apologised for by the author of the 
" Gwentian Brut," ® is quite in keeping with Map's portrait of 
Gruffydd as the fiercely jealous husband of a very beautiful 
bride. Notwithstanding this defeat, Hywel was still lord of 
Dyfed and Ystrad Tywi, in 1042, for in that year he met a host 
of Danish marauders at Pwll Dyfach, some 5 miles north- 
west of Carmarthen, and signally overthrew them. An un- 
recorded reverse followed, so that in 1 044 he is found returning 
to Deheubarth as an exile and entering the mouth of the Towy 

*Cf. with the Welsh notices A.S. Ckr. MS. C. s.a. 1039, Fl. Wig. s.a. 1052 
(where "per insidias" is important), and Heming's Cartulary (Oxford, 1723), 
278. For the reasons which make it impossible to locate this battle at Upton 
on Severn (Norm. Conq. i. (3), p. 506), see my paper, 129-30, Rhyd y Groes was 
near Gungrog and Cefn Digoll (Mab. 146, 148) ; the fact that it was on the 
Severn at once excludes the place of this name east of Forden (Mont. Coll. vii. 
(1874), 163-72), and 1 cannot find any good authority for the view that it was 
the ford to the west of that village. 

5 For the chronology of this reign see Ann. C. as printed in Trans. Cymr. 
1899-1900, 166-71, and the notes thereto. B. Sues, is two years in arrear. 

8 " A thyna'r unig weithred, o'r holl weithredoedd a wnaeth Ruffydd, a bcris 
anfoddlondeb i'r doethion " (s.a. 1038). 


with the aid of a Danish fleet. It was his last enterprise ; CHAP, 
Grufifydd offered a stout resistance to the invaders, and the 
death of Hywel in the fray at last gave him the crown for 
which he had so long striven. 

The line of Hywel the Good had at this time no candidate 
to offer in the room of Hywel ab Edwin, and it might have 
been supposed, therefore, that Gruffydd had a clear course 
before him. But in the year following the victory of Aber 
Tywi a new rival showed himself, in the person of another 
Gruffydd, son of Rhydderch ab lestyn, and thus able, equally 
with the king of Gwynedd, to appeal to the memory of a 
father who had ruled gloriously. The local associations of 
this family were with the regions of Erging and Gwent Uchaf,^ 
but Gruffydd ap Rhydderch nevertheless found means of stirring 
up on his behalf the provincial feeling of Deheubarth, and 
organised a formidable movement against the intruder from 
North Wales. So threatening was it that in 1046 Gruffydd 
ap Llywelyn had recourse to English help ; the intervention of 
Earl Swegen, son of Godwine, whose earldom included Here- 
fordshire and Gloucestershire, was secured, and king and earl 
went together through South Wales, hoping no doubt to crush 
the movement in favour of the son of Rhydderch.^ The peace 
which followed was but the treacherous lull before a storm ; 
next year the " uchelwyr " " of Ystrad Tywi, now as ever un- 
tamable in their independence, suddenly fell upon the " teulu," 
the household guard,^*' of the northern leader, and slew 140 
of their number. Gruffydd can scarcely have been far away, 
and probably escaped with difficulty from the trap which had 
been laid for him. It was in vain that he punished the daring 
attempt by a general devastation of Dyfed and Ystrad Tywi : 
his authority in South Wales was for the time being shattered, 
and for the next eight years it is Gruffydd ap Rhydderch who 
appears as king of Deheubarth. 

■^ hih. Land. 264-5 shows " Riderch rex filius gistin" as witness to a grant 
of land "iuxta lannbocha" (St. Maughan's. nr. Monmouth) made to Bishop 
Joseph of Llandaff. His son " Grifud rex morcanhuc filius riderch " attests 
anotiier grant to Joseph of land " super ripam mingui (the Monnow) ex alia parte 
lanncinlall (Rockfield) " {ibid. 264). 

M.S. Chr. MS. C. s.a. 1046. 

8 The " uchelwr ' or " breyr " is regularly •' optimas " in the Latin versions 
of the laws. 

1" See pp. 316-7. 


CHAP. If he had not been overshadowed and ultimately over- 

whelmed by a prince of the calibre of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, 
Gruffydd of South Wales might have played no mean part in 
the history of his country. He showed in his brief reign an 
abundant energy and something of the daring of his greater 
namesake. In 1049 he was confronted with the peril of a 
Danish invasion ; the heroic remedy was adopted of removing 
all available plunder from the coast region to the inaccessible 
woods of thei interior.^^ Not content with this, Gruffydd re- 
solved to make common cause with the pirates and to divert 
their operations from his own shores to those of his neighbours 
in Gwent and the Forest of Dean.^^ Gwent Iscoed had been 
seized about 1040 by the house of Morgannwg; Meurig ap 
Hywel ab Owain, who, owing to his father's advanced age, 
had assumed the sovereignty some years before the death of 
the latter in 1043, had possessed himself of the region by force 
and now ruled it through his son Cadwgan.^^ Gruffydd, there- 
fore, led with alacrity the thirty-six ships of the pirate fleet to 
the mouth of the Usk, and, when they had done sufficient 
mischief there, passed with them across the Wye to the great 
English manor of Tidenham, which was also ravaged without 
mercy. Bishop Ealdred of Worcester summoned the shire 
forces of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire to meet the invasion, 
but the response was feeble and the Welsh of the border in- 
cluded in the levy played their comrades false and gave 
information to the foe. The result was that Gruffydd was able 
to surprise the English camp, in the early dawn of a summer's 
day, and to scatter with great slaughter the force assembled for 
his discomfiture. This victory, it is certain, was turned to good 
account by the southern king in the next few years ; it was 
no doubt with his support and encouragement that the ravages 

^^So I interpret the notices of Ann, C. M3S. B. and C. The latter has: 
'• Hoc anno tota dextralis patria (i.e., Deheubarth) deserta est metu gentilium ", 

^* For the incidents of this campaign see /I. S. Chr. MS. D. s.a. 1050 ( = 1049; 
Plummer, i. 165 ; ii. 228-9) and Fl. Wig. i. 203, with the comments in Trans. 
Cymr. 1899-1900, 133. Freeman's discussion of it in Norm. Conq. ii. (3), 612-5 
suffers from the attempt to connect it with the mishap to the Danish fleet in 1052, 
which B. Saes., hereabouts two years in arrear, dates 1050. There is nothing to 
support his view that Gwent was at this time in EngHsh hands. 

13 Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 145-6. Lib. Land. 255-7, O"^ authority for this 
incident, shows that it took place before the death of Hywel (" De laicis mouricus 
rex et hiugel pater suus"). 


were committed for which in the first week of 1053 his brother CHAP. 
Rhys ap Rhydderch suffered death at the bidding of Edward,^'* ^^" 
and it is difficult not to trace the hand of Grufifydd in the 
sudden raid of the same year upon Westbury on Severn, a 
little to the west of Gloucester, when the Welsh slew a number 
of the " wardmen " who guarded the city against surprise on 
the side of the Forest of Dean.^^ 

There is little to indicate how Gruffydd ap Llywelyn was 
in the meantime employed. During the reign of Grufifydd ap 
Rhydderch he appears but once upon the stage, in an attack 
upon Herefordshire, delivered in the early summer of 1052.^® 
It may well be believed that the occasion for the striking of 
this blow was the rise in this part of the border of a new and 
formidable force in the Norman settlement which for some 
reason or other found Herefordshire specially congenial soil. 
Earl Swegen, Gruffydd's former ally, had been forced to abandon 
the realm, with all his kin ; his place at Hereford was filled by 
Ralph, son of the count of the Vexin and King Edward's sister, 
and with this Norman kinsman of the king's had come others 
of the same alert and daring race, Richard son of Scrob, who 
built himself a castle a little south of Ludlow, Osbern, sumamed 
Pentecost, who may have been the first builder of Ewias Harold 
Castle, and a Robert who has not been identified. Gruffydd 
was keen enough to discern that neighbours of this type were 
far more to be dreaded than the thegns and ceorls of Mercia, 
and his foray was probably quite as much defensive as offensive 
in its purpose. He had almost reached Leominster when a 
mixed force of Normans and English gave him battle, only 
to suffer a crushing defeat, which enabled Gruffydd to return 

i*^.S. Chr. MS. C. J.a. 1052 (really 1053, since C.'s year ends at Easter 
(Plummer, ii. cxl), MS. D. s.a. 1053; Fl. Wig. i. 211 [%.a. 1053). Fl. says 
definitely that Rhys was " Griffini regis Australium Walensium frater," and this 
is supported by Lib. Land. 278 (" grifudi filii riderch, caratoci fratris ejus, et ris 
similiter") and by the mention of a Meirchion ap Rhys ap Rhydderch in B.T. 
and B. Saes. s.a. 1074 (= 1076). Gw. Brut (s.a. 1056) talks of "Rhys ap 
Llywelyn ap Sei'iyllt"; the author had probably nothing but Powel's "brother 
of Gruffyth king of Wales " (p. 72) to guide him and made one of his usual 
unlucky guesses. Wm. Malm. G.R. 237 (330) had made the same mistake. 

^^A.S. Chr. MS. C. s.a. 1053. 

1" A.S. Chr. MS. D. s.a. 1052 (second and correctly dated notice); Fl. Wig. 
i. 207. Ralph's parentage may be learnt from Ord. Vit. vii. 14 ; for the Norman 
settlement in Herefordshire see Round, Feudal England (London, 1895), pp. 


CHAP, triumphantly with his spoil, his renown not a whit abated, but 
rather enhanced by his victory over this new foe. As men told 
the story with trembling lips, it was not forgotten that the fatal 
day was the thirteenth anniversary of Rhyd y Groes. 

The culminating period of Grufifydd's reign is now ap- 
proached, during which he was master of the whole of Wales, 
as well as of much which until his appearance had been English 
soil. In 1055 ^^ he compassed and brought about the death of 
his rival, Gruffydd ap Rhydderch, and thus was enabled to add 
Deheubarth once more to his dominions. He had not been 
many weeks in the enjoyment of his new position ere the 
vicissitudes of English party politics gave him an ally from an 
unexpected quarter. At the time of the expulsion in 1051 of 
Godwine and his sons, ^Ifgar, son of the great Earl Leofric of 
Mercia, had received Harold's earldom of East Anglia ; this he 
had been forced to resign on Harold's return with the rest of 
the family in 1052, but it had again been bestowed upon him 
when Harold succeeded his father as Earl of Wessex in 1053. 
At a council held at London on 20th March, 1055, charges of 
treason were brought against ^Ifgar which there are no means 
of testing, but which, whether well founded or not, were but 
weapons in the party strife between the house of Leofric and 
Godwine.^^ Deprived of his earldom and outlawed, the baffled 
noble sought help in the first instance, as Harold had done 
under similar circumstances in 105 1, from the Danes of Ireland ; 
he soon had at his command a fleet of eighteen ships, conveying 
a considerable body of hired troops. Something suggested to 
him at this point an alliance with Gruffydd ap Llywelyn ; ^^ the 
bargain was soon struck, and the united force of Welshmen, Irish 
mercenaries and followers of iElfgar made a most formidable 
combination. It was agreed by the conspirators that no more 
damaging attack could be made upon Edward and his realm 
than one which should shake to its foundations the Norman 

^^ For this dating see Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 170, note. 

" The events of this year are narrated in A.S. Chr. MSS. C. D. E. and Fl. 
Wig. i. 212-4. Fl- Wig. has the fullest account, which is only marred by the dis- 
position to make the most of Harold's achievements. C. is, as usual, hostile to the 
house of Godwine, E. is friendly and D. trims. 

^» The sources imply that ^Ifgar and Gruffydd did not come to terms until 
the former had returned from Ireland, and so the view oi Conq. Eng. pp. 563-4 
that their earlier relations had provoked the attack upon ^Ifgar, is to be rejected. 


settlement at Hereford. They marched, therefore, on 24th CHAP, 
October upon this city ; the troop of defenders which Earl Ralph 
put into the field a couple of miles from the place was soon 
scattered in flight, with the maladroit earl at their head, the 
castle was taken with a rush ere its terrified inmates had time 
to rise from their meal,^^ and Hereford was given up to fire and 
plunder. Not even the new cathedral, which Bishop Athelstan 
had recently built on a spot overlooking the full-flowing Wye, 
was spared from pillage ; seven of its canons were killed as they 
strove to bar the doors against sacrilegious attack ; its rich 
vessels and furniture were carried off, and all that did not tempt 
the spoiler perished in the general conflagration. The city 
itself fared no better ; booty and captives in abundance loaded 
the train of Gruffydd and yElfgar, as they made their way back 
to Wales. 

This bold defiance of the power of the English king did not 
fail to evoke a speedy answer. Earl Harold, now the chief 
figure at Edward's court, was commissioned to avenge the insult, 
and gathered a force at Gloucester for the purpose. But he 
was not able to penetrate further into the enemy's country than 
a few miles beyond the valley of the Dore ; ^^ the secret of 
Welsh campaigning had not yet been revealed to him, and his 
final resource was to fortify Hereford against future raids of the 
kind, leaving Gruffydd untouched in his mountain stronghold. 
It was clear that peace must be concluded with iElfgar, whose 
help made the Welsh chieftain doubly dangerous ; after much 
parleying, an agreement embracing all parties was drawn up 
at Billingsley, near Boulston in Archenfield,^'^ which for the 
moment restored peace. It was altogether to the advantage 
of .^Ifgar, who regained his earldom and his former position, 
nor is it to be supposed that Gruffydd's interests were ignored 
in a settlement so favourable to his ally, — he, too, was no doubt 
allowed to retain the conquests he had won along the border. 
How considerable these were will appear from a brief survey 
of the state of affairs in the march during the latter part of 
Gruffydd's reign. 

2' B.T. and B. Sues. {s.a. 1054) speak of the capture of the "gaer," and the 
latter adds that it was done " tra uuant ar ev bwyt ". 

" "Ultra Straddele " (Fl. Wig.) ; cf. Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 134, note 2. 

^ Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 134. Billingsley may be lound in the old one- 
inch Ordnance map (sheet 43). 


CHAP. Rhuddlan on the Clwyd, which had once been held by the 

Earls of Mercia, was in 1063 a royal seat of Gruffydd's, where 
his ships could lie safely in the mouth of the river, ready to 
bear the king to whatsoever port of his dominions he might 
choose.^^ The whole country from here to the vale of Maelor, 
as far as Wat's Dyke to the east, had been cleared by Gruffydd 
of its English settlers, who no longer tilled the fields of Preston 
(Prestatyn), Merton (Mertyn), Whitford, Bruncot (Broncoed) 
and Hope. At Bishopstree (Bistre) he had another residence, 
to which his vassals in the region of the Alun brought their 
dues of beer, butter and the like. The Maelor district had for 
many years formed the English hundred of Exestan, and in 
958 King Edgar of Mercia is recorded to have bestowed upon 
St. Werburgh's Abbey, Chester, the hamlet of Hodeshlith 
(Hoseley) within its bounds.^* But under Edward the Con- 
fessor the whole of this fertile plain, in which " ham " and " ford " 
and " stock " bear witness to an English settlement of long 
standing, was in the hands of Gruffydd ; it had, indeed, been 
formally bestowed upon him by Edward, it may be in 1055, 
but in any case, as the recognition of an accomplished fact. 
Almost the whole hundred of Mersete, lying around Oswestry, 
was in the like case, and one learns that the English loss was 
recent from the statement made in Domesday that Whittington, 
Maesbury and Chirbury, which in 1066 yielded no revenue 
whatever to the crown, had between them furnished half a 
night's ferm in the days of Ethelred. The Severn was still the 
boundary between the two races fromi Melverley to Leighton, 
but further south evidence of the aggression of Gruffydd is 
again forthcoming. Not only Chirbury, but a score of villages 
round about, where the English system of hidage had been in 
full force, had been rendered uninhabitable, and, instead of fifty 
hides paying the king's taxes, there was nothing but a great 
forest. Along the Herefordshire border, signs of the activity 
of Gruffydd are, as might be expected, everywhere visible. A 
line drawn from Brampton Bryan on the Teme to Willersley 
on the Wye would roughly indicate the western limit of English 

^ This paragraph is based upon an examination of the Domesday evidence 
as to border vills T.R.E. which will be found in Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 138-46. 

"^^ Cart. Sax. iii. 245-6 (No. 1041). " Odeslei " was in the possession of the 
abbey T.R.E. and T.R.W. (Domesd. 263a, 2). 



occupation at this time ; all the English villages between this CHAP 
and Radnor Forest — Knighton, Radnor, Kington, Huntington ^ ' 
and a score of others — had been abandoned to the Welsh, 
largely, no doubt, as the result of the raid of 1052. South of 
the Wye, again, the country bore vivid witness to the work of 
1055 ; only a few villages lining the south bank of the river 
are entered in Domesday as yielding an income to English 
lords under the Confessor, and of Archenfield or Erging as a 
whole it is said that, though at one time paying rent and 
service to the English king, it had been so devastated by 
Gruffydd and his successor Bleddyn as to be of no value to the 
crown in 1 066. This remarkable tale of border conquest may 
fitly close with a reference to Gruffydd's position in Gwent, 
where he drove out, not the English, but the local dynasty, 
represented either by Meurig ap Hywel or by his son Cadwgan.^^ 
No precise date can be fixed for this event, but the Domesday 
notices of Nether Went show that the Welsh leader was firmly 
established in this region at the time of his death ; they speak 
of certain Welshmen, among them Abraham, Archdeacon of 
Gwent, and Berddig, the king's poet, whose lands had been 
granted to them by King Gruffydd free from the payment of 
dues.^^ Thus Gruffydd ruled from sea to sea, king of the four 
realms of Gwynedd, Powys, Deheubarth and Morgannwg, and 
master of many a mile to the east of Offa's Dyke. 

The peace of Billingsley was of little avail in ending the 
border warfare between English and Welsh, for in a few 
months the conflict was renewed.'^" There is good reason for 
supposing, however, that on this occasion the English were the 
aggressors. In the February following the sack of Hereford, 
Bishop Athelstan died, after forty-four years' tenure of the see ; 
a chaplain of Harold's named Leofgar was appointed in his 
stead, who was very loth, despite his promotion to high ecclesi- 

"^ Meurig was still in power at the time of the election of Bishop Herwald 
of Llandaff {Lib. Land. 266), but this may have been several years earlier than 
his consecration in 1056 {Reg. Sacr. (2), 36), since the previous bishop, Joseph, 
had died in 1045 {Ann. C. MS. B.). The " Grifido monarchia britonum prepol- 
lente " of this election may for the same reason be either Gruffydd ap Rhydderch 
(so index to Lib. Land. 400) or Gruffydd ap Llywelyn. 

^To this period no doubt belongs the document in Lib. Land. 269-70, for 
I cannot accept the view of the editor (index, 400) that this Gruffydd is also 
Gruffydd ap Rhydderch. 

"M.S. Chr. MSS. C. D. s.a. 1056 ; Fl. Wig. i. 214-5. 




astical office, to abandon the secular habits he had followed as 
a priest. He gave great offence by refusing to shave his 
moustache,^^ and further scandalised the devout by leading in 
full military array an army against the Welsh, with the sheriff 
vElfnoth and the priests of his cathedral. A fighting prelate of 
this pattern, with the injuries of his see to avenge, was not 
likely to wait for an attack before taking up arms, and the im- 
pression that it was he and not Gruffydd who threw down the 
gage of battle is confirmed by the fact that the two armies met 
in the valley of the Machawy, some distance above GJasbury, 
and many miles to the west of the line which then parted Welsh 
and English.^^ The day was the i6th of June,^*^ and once again 
Gruffydd won a brilliant victory ; bishop and sheriff were 
among the slain, and those of the host who escaped slaughter 
were scattered in flight. An attempt was made, as in the 
previous year, to wipe out the stain of this defeat by a regular 
campaign against the ever-victorious Welshman, but the march- 
ing and encamping had no result save the loss of men and 
horses, and in the end it was resolved to try the effect of 
negotiation. So serious had the situation become that the 
greatest men in the land concerned themselves in the pacifica- 
tion, Earl Harold, the old Earl Leofric of Mercia, and Ealdred 
of Worcester, soon to become Archbishop of York. By their 
joint efforts a settlement was arrived at ; Gruffydd swore to 
be faithful as an under-king to King Edward and in return was 
no doubt suffered to retain his conquests. If the meeting 
between the two rulers described by Map is a historical incident, 
this was in all likelihood the occasion when it took place ; as 
lord of Gwent, Gruffydd had easy access to Beachley, near 
Chepstow, where he is said to have awaited Edward, and Aust, 
just across the channel, whence the English king sailed, was 
within easy reach of Gloucester. 

By the death of Earl Leofric, husband of the renowned 
Godgifu or Godiva, and himself one of the commanding figures 
of this period, vElfgar became in 1057 Earl of Mercia. Gruff- 
ydd's ally was thus brought into close neighbourhood with him, 
for their territories now marched from Hawarden to Ludlow. 

28 Plummer, ii. 246. 

2" For the site of the battle see Trans. Cymr. 1899-igoo, 135. 

^^ Fl. Wig. and Plummer, ii. cxlix. 


A still closer tie was formed by the marriage about this time CHAP. 
ofGruffydd and ^Ifgar's beautiful daughter, Ealdgyth,^^ and 
the birth of a daughter Nest, to be a fresh pledge of amity 
between the houses of Gwynedd and of Mercia. Thus when 
once again, in 1058, the enemies of ^Elfgar procured his banish- 
ment, he was once more, as in 1055, reinstated with the aid of 
Gruffydd ; some help was also given on this occasion by the 
fleet which Magnus, son of Harold Hardrada of Norway, 
brought into the Irish Sea with a vague idea of conquering 
England ; the major purpose was not achieved, but incidentally 
Magnus weakened Edward's position by contributing to the 
triumph of the two allied powers of the West'^ 

iElfgar and Gruffydd as confederate neighbours were for- 
tified against all attack, and accordingly nothing is heard of 
any further movement against Wales until the end of the year 
1062. It is in this year, about Easter, that the last reference 
occurs to the earl,^^ and, in the absence of any record of the 
date of his death, he may safely be assumed to have died not 
many months later. His young son Edwin succeeded to the 
earldom, and Gruffydd was at once made to feel how moment- 
ous for him was the removal of the strong hand, of his friend. 
Earl Harold obtained the king's leave to try what could be 
effected by one bold stroke, a bolt from the blue launched at 
the Welsh chief in the ease of his palace, ere he had time to 
plan means of escape.^* The plot was all but successful ; 
directly afterthe Christmas festivities of the.court at Gloucester, 
at a season when campaigning in Wales was most unusual, 
Harold rode with a small force of huscarls to Chester, where 

■''1 William of Jumieges, vii. 31 ; Ord. Vit. iii. 11 (II. 119), iv. 4 (II. 183). Ord. 
is of course wrong in making Bleddyn (Blidenum) a son of Gruffydd's, but, as 
Gruffydd certainly left a daughter Nest (Gir. Camb. vi. 28-g (Itin. i. 2)), he is 
probably right in his account of her parentage. 

^A.S. Chr. MS. D. s.a. 1058; Fl. Wig. i. 217. Doubt has naturally been 
raised with regard to this second banishment and return of /Elfgar, which is 
mentioned in one only of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, and that very summarily 
{Norm. Conq. ii. (3), 443). But the Chronicle, Fl. Wig., Ann. C. MSS. B. C, B.T. 
and B. Saes. 1056 (= 1058), and Tighernach {Rev, Celt, xvii. p. 399) furnish 
the outlines of a consistent story, though each has a special point of view. 

8* See William of Malmesbury's life of Wulfstan of Worcester in Anglia 
Sacra, ii. 251. 

^*A.S. Chr, MS. D. s.a. 1063; Fl. Wig. i. 221. For the later events of 
1063 see also B,T., B. Saes., Ann. C, Gir. Camb. vi. 217 (Descr. ii. 7), Gaimar, 
w. 5071-84, John of Salisbury's Polycraticus, vi. 6, with the notes in Trans. 
Cymr. 1899- 1900, 137-8. 


CHAP. yElfgar could no longer bar his progress, and thence made a 
dash for Rhuddlan, hoping that the suddenness of the onslaught 
and the swiftness of his movements would enable him to swoop 
upon his prey ere it was startled into flight. But Gruffydd 
received timely warning of the approach of the foe, and, hastily 
boarding one of the vessels that floated with the tide beneath 
the ramparts of his castle, slipped through the " Forryd," the 
" seaward ford " of the Clwyd, into the open sea ere his pur- 
suers were upon him. The smoke of his burning ships and 
houses and halls curling up into heaven told him afar the story 
of Harold's disappointed rage. 

But the respite which Gruffydd won by his promptitude 
was brief. His overthrow was now a prime object of the Eng- 
lish government, and, as soon as the returning spring made 
operations in Wales practicable, an expedition was organised 
against him. Tostig, Earl of Northumberland, brought a force 
of cavalry into the country, probably skirting the northern 
coast, with Anglesey as his goal, while his famous brother led 
a body of light armed troops, specially fitted to traverse the 
rough Welsh mountains, from Oxford to Bristol, and there at 
the end of May embarked with his men in a fleet which carried 
him round the greater part of Wales to meet the northern con- 
tingent. The course of the campaign cannot be outlined with 
any certainty, but it would seem likely that, in the first place, 
the appearance of Harold's armada in the Bristol Channel 
deprived Gruffydd of such support as he had in South Wales ; 
at the touch of the foreigner, provincial jealousy awoke in full 
vigour ; the men of Deheubarth gave hostages to Harold and 
threw off the yoke of Gwynedd. In the second place, there are 
evidences of a struggle in North Wales, in which the light in- 
fantry of Harold no doubt did great execution. The fastnesses 
of Snowdon were penetrated, the Welsh king was driven from 
one hiding-place to another, and his subjects were sore beset 
on every hand. In this extremity Gruffydd, who must have 
had enemies in abundance, was deserted by those nearest 
to him ; he fell on 5th August, 1063,^^ as the result of a plot, 

^* Fl. Wig. and Ann. Ult. place the death of Gruffydd in 1064, and John of 
Salisbury's " expeditione in biennium prorogata" points in the same direction. 
But I prefer to follow the explicit statement of the English Chronicle D. (" on Sis- 
san ilcan geare "), supported as it is by B, Saes. (1061 = 1063) and Ann. C. 

and his head was forthwith sent to Harold as the price of CHAP. 


Such was the tragic end of a career recognised alike by 

English and Welsh as one of exceptional brilliancy. " He was 

king," says the English annalist, "over all the Welsh race." 

The Welsh chronicle styles him " head and shield and defender 

of the Britons," and expatiates, with unaccustomed rhetoric, 

upon his melancholy fate ; " and now was left in solitary glens 

the man erst deemed invincible, the winner of countless spoils 

and immeasurable victories, endlessly rich in gold and silver 

and precious stones and purple apparel ".^^ He founded no 

dynasty, but he bequeathed to the Welsh people the priceless 

legacy of a revived national spirit ; in his vigour and daring 

the nation felt its youth renewed and no longer harboured the 

hidden fear that it had grown old and effete among the peoples 

of the earth. 

n. The Normans and the Welsh March. 

The overthrow of Gruffydd and the subjugation of Wales 
must be regarded as a military triumph of the first order. Futile 
as the previous attempts of Harold had been to curb the power 
which threatened the peace and good order of the whole Eng- 
lish realm, he had at last succeeded in putting an end to the 
Welsh peril ; in the phrase of the Anglo-Norman poet Gaimar, 
"there was no more heed paid to the Welsh ".^^ So deep was 
the impression made upon the English by the achievements of 
the earl and his light armed infantry that in the next century 
the incidents of the campaign, passed on as they were from lip 
to lip, became involved in a mist of legend, such as ever gathers 
around the telling of deeds which nourish a nation's pride. 
Gerald of Wales speaks of pillar-stones, almost certainly mythi- 
cal, which were erected by Harold to mark the scenes of his 
victories, each one bearing upon it the inscription : " Hie fuit 
victor Haroldus ".^^ John of Salisbury depicts a slaughter which 

^^Bruts, 267 (B.r. 45). 

^ Gaimar, v. 5084 (" Vnc puis de Waleis nout reguard "). 

■*** VI. 217 (Descr. ii. 7). No trace of any inscription of this kind has ever 
been found. The notion perhaps took its rise from the discovery of some early 
inscription running: "Hie iacit Victor . . .," Victor (= Gwythur, Mots Latins, 
215) being a name which occurs in this type of monument (at Clydai in Pembroke- 
shire, W. Ph. (2), 275 ; Inscr. Chr. vi. No. no; Lap. W. 123). 


CHAP, swept away nearly the whole of the male population ot the 
country, so that the women had to beg the special permission 
of the king to marry Englishmen. ^^ Exaggerations such as 
these serve to show how vividly Harold's successes appealed to 
the imagination of his fellow-countrymen and how they recog- 
nised in him the saviour to whom it was but meet to ofifer the 
crown he had so manfully defended. 

Nevertheless, Harold did not conquer Wales in the sense in 
which this was done by Edward I., or even obtain the hold 
upon the country which was acquired by Henry I. What he 
achieved was the reduction of the Welsh question from one of 
national importance to its old status as a mere border difficulty. 
New rulers were placed in power ; Bleddyn and Rhiwallon, the 
sons of an unknown Cynfyn ap Gwerstan by his wife Angharad, 
the widow of Llywelyn ap Seisyll, submitted to Harold and 
from him received Gwynedd and Powys, swearing to be faithful 
to King Edward in all things and to pay all renders which in 
the past had been yielded to the English crown.*** At the same 
time, or, it may be, somewhat later, the line of Hywel the Good 
was reinstated in Deheubarth in the person of Maredudd ab 
Owain ab Edwin, a nephew of the Hywel ab Edwin whom 
Gruffydd had crushed in 1044.*^ Cadwgan ap Meurig came to 
his own again in Morgannwg,*^ while the line of Rhydderch ab 
lestyn, though excluded from Deheubarth, put forth a vigorous 
shoot in Caradog ap Gruffydd ap Rhydderch, who held Gwynllwg 
and Upper Gwent.*^ From none of these new men was there 
reason to fear attacks on the grand scale, such as had made the 
late leader so formidable, but they were under no greater restric- 
tions than the predecessors of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, and had it 
in their power to harass the marches no less persistently than in 
the days of yore. One incident of the border strife which an 
English chronicler has recorded may be cited to illustrate the 
position." It would appear that in 1065, two years after the 

*8 Polycraticus, lib. vi. c. 6. 

*'>A.S. Chr. MS. D. s.a. 1063. "Blethgente" and " Rigwatlan " represent 
the old Welsh forms Bledgint and Riguallaun. 

*i B.T. gives his ancestry s.a. 1068. 

*2 For Cadwgan see Trans. Cynir. 1899-1900, 147, note. 

** Lib. Land. 278. 

**A.S. Chr. MSS. C. D. s.a. 1065. D. probably derives its account from C. 
(Plummer, ii. 251). "PortascihS" is the "Forth Ysgewin" of mediaeval Welsh 
literature, the southern limit of Wales (Gir. Camb. vi. 165 {Descr. i. i) ; Triad i. 5 


fall of Gruffydd, Harold led an expedition into Nether Went and, CHAP, 
having subdued it, ordered the building of a royal residence for 
the Confessor at Portskewet. So confident was he of the suc- 
cessful accomplishment of his work that he arranged that Edward 
should pay a visit that summer to his new hunting-lodge, and 
saw to it that the place was fully provisioned. But on the 24th 
of August, as the builders were still at their task, Caradog ap 
Gruffydd made a sudden descent from the hills, slew the work- 
men and their few defenders and carried off with much glee the 
stores of food and drink which had been got. 'together for the 
use of the royal household. The chronicler does not suggest 
that any vengeance was taken or found possible ; notwithstand- 
ing the great campaign of 1063, the spirit of the Welsh was 
still unbroken and their independence was scarcely less ample 
than before. 

Such was the footing on which relations between England 
and Wales stood when the events of 1066 brought about a com- 
plete change of scene, and in the space of a few short months 
radically altered the situation with which Welshmen had to deal. 
The conquest of England by Duke William of Normandy meant 
far more for the Welsh than the substitution of a strong for a 
weak king of England ; accompanied as it was by a great influx 
into the island of the duke's adventurous subjects and neigh- 
bours, it meant that, instead of a sluggish, home-keeping race, 
who had for ages given up colonisation, Wales must now face 
the onset of a crowd of busy pioneers, the flower of a people 
pre-eminently gifted as colonists, men not in the least afraid of 
the difficulties and dangers of Welsh campaigning. The struggle 
with the Norman began almost immediately, and for the next 
thirty-five years it is the topic of primary interest in Welsh 
history. At one period, the centre of the movement is to be 
found in North Wales ; later on, it is in South Wales that the 
foreigner makes most headway, but alike in North and South the 
presence of the Norman is the dominant factor in the situation, 
and all is confusion and disorder until a rough equilibrium is 
established between the two contending races. 

It has been shown that the Normans had already obtained 

= iii. 65 ; Myv. Arch. i. 270 (193)). The Domesday form is Poteschiuet (i. 1620, i). 
There were still four vills in Gwent in 1086 which had not recovered from the 
devastation " per regem Caraduech ". 

VOL. 11. 2 


CHAP, under the Confessor a firm foothold in Herefordshire. One of 
• the earliest steps of King William was to make sure of this 
valuable starting-point for further operations by bestowing the 
earldom of Hereford upon one of his ablest and most trusty- 
lieutenants, William fitz Osbern, lord of Breteuil, his second 
cousin and hereditary steward of Normandy.*^ The new earl 
lost no time in bringing home to the Welsh the fact that an era 
of conquest had begun, and, short as was his tenure of the earl- 
dom and important as were his responsibilities in other parts of 
the kingdom, effected so much in four years as to show that 
with longer life he might have anticipated by a couple of 
decades the winning of South Wales. This is the more re- 
markable in that all this time a bitter struggle was going on to 
the north of Hereford for the possession of the border. William's 
first measures excited a revolt, wherein was witnessed for the 
first time that co-operation between the Mercians and the Welsh 
which is an outstanding feature of the next few years ; Bleddyn 
and Rhiwallon joined the great Mercian landowner, Eadric the 
Wild, who had broad estates on the borders of Wales, in an 
attack upon Herefordshire and Hereford Castle which did 
serious damage to William and his followers in the summer of 
1067.*^ In the following year there was still a more formid- 
able combination ; Earl Edwin of Mercia, who had submitted 
to the king and accompanied him upon the visit to Normandy 
which occupied most of the year 1067, broke out into revolt 
with his brother, Earl Morcar of Northumbria, enlisted Bleddyn 
in his cause, and made ready for a great effort on the part of 
North and West to shake off the Norman yoke.*^ But Edwin, 
though an attractive and popular leader, was weak and irre- 
solute ; he had scarcely entered upon the struggle ere he laid 
down his arms and made his peace with the king. Others were 
not so easily daunted ; Eadric, in particular, carried on the war, 
with the aid of his Welsh allies, into the year 1 069, when from 
north, south and west a combined onslaught was made upon 
the royal garrison at Shrewsbury. Earl William was able to 

*^Dict. Nat. Biog. xix. 188; Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 148-50 ; Eng. Hist. 
Rev. XV. (1900), pp. 76-7. 

*^A.S. Chr. MS. D. s.a. 1067; Fl. Wig. ii. 1-2. 

^■^ Ord. Vit. iv. 4. In his account of the years 1066-71, Orderic follows the 
contemporary narrative of William of Poitiers (see iv. 7). 


bring reinforcements upon the scene which saved the castle,*^ CHAP, 
but the situation was still precarious until, at the beginning of 
1070, the king, after his famous mid-winter march across the 
bleak and rain-swept Pennines, made his appearance for the first 
time at Chester, the centre of the Mercian resistance, and took 
measures to place his supremacy both here and at Shrewsbury 
upon a firm and settled foundation. When Eadric a few months 
later, recognising the futility of further conflict, made his final 
submission to the Conqueror,*^ the subjection of the border was 
at last complete, and Wales was thrown, in its opposition to 
Norman rule, henceforth entirely upon its own resources. 

Fitz Osbern's busy career was now almost at an end, yet, not- 
withstanding the difficulties of what may be called the aftermath 
of Hastings, he had achieved great things as Earl of Hereford. 
His dashing leadership drew around him a great number of 
adventurous knights, whom he lavishly rewarded out of the 
royal coffers, not altogether to the satisfaction of the careful 
king.^^ With their aid he protected the earldom from the 
ravages of the Welsh by building strong castles along the 
border, at Wigmore, Clifford, Ewias Harold, Monmouth and 
Chepstow, each becoming the centre of a Norman settlement." 
In the case of Wigmore and of Clifford he is known to have 
provided for the economic needs of the castle by establishing 
beneath its shadow a chartered borough, to which he no doubt 
granted those liberal " customs of Breteuil " already conceded to 
the Norman burgesses of Hereford. ^^ Nor was he content with 
a purely defensive policy ; a vigorous attack was made upon 
Maredudd ab Owain of Deheubarth, his brother Rhys ab Owain 
and Cadwgan ap Meurig of Morgannwg.^^ As a result, the 
whole region of Gwent fell into William's hands ; ^* from his two 
bases at Monmouth and Chepstow he pushed forward as far as 
the Usk, and finally destroyed Welsh independence in this 
ancient border realm. The inhabitants were treated with some 

«8 Ord. Vit. iv. 5. <» Fl. Wig. ii. 7. 

oo Wm, Malm. G.R. 314 (431). " Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 148-9. 

" Eng. Hist. Rev. xv. (1900), pp. 302-3. 

03 «' Guallorum reges Risen et Caducan ac Mariadoth aliosque plures pros- 
travit" (Ord. Vit. iv. 7 (ii. 219)). 

"Lift. Land. 274 speaks of " Rogerii filii Willelmi filii Osberni " as " domini 
Guenti, ' and the title is implied in what is said in Domesday of the doings of 
William in this region. 



CHAP, consideration ; many of them were allowed to retain their lands 
on the easy terms which had been conceded to them by 
Grufifydd ap Llywelyn, and the Welsh " praepositi " or maers 
were left undisturbed in their offices. ^^ While Gwent was thus 
annexed, William seems a little time before his death to have 
come to terms with Maredudd and to have adopted, with the 
sanction of the king, the policy of protecting the marches from 
the rapine of the Welsh chief by giving him lawful possession 
of certain English manors. Three hides at Ley, on the river 
Lugg, were granted to Maredudd free from the payment of geld 
with this end in view,^" nor was this an isolated gift, for lands 
at Kenchester" and elsewhere are known to have been con- 
ferred upon him as part of the same policy. 

At the end of the year 1070 Fitz Osbern left England, and 
on 20th February, 1071, was slain in battle near Cassel in 
Flanders. His earldom and his English possessions passed to 
his second son Roger, who had neither the ability nor the 
fidelity of his father; in 1075 he plotted unsuccessfully against 
King William and brought down with a crash the edifice of 
power so skilfully raised by the first earl. Lifelong imprisonment 
and forfeiture of all his lands and dignities were the penalties 
paid by Earl Roger for his rash enterprise, and many of his 
father's knights who had joined in the conspiracy were involved 
in the ruin which befell him.^^ A catastrophe of these dimen- 
sions must have had a chilling effect upon the ardour of the 
colonisers of the South Welsh border ; the king marked his 
distrust of the situation by creating no new Earl of Hereford, 
and it may be conjectured that the sudden fall of the house 
of Breteuil was in a large measure responsible for the arrest at 
this point of the advance upon South Wales which had pro- 
mised so well under Earl William. 

"'In a grant of land at Llangwm Isaf made in 1071-5, the lay witnesses 
include {Lib. Land. 274) " elinui filius idnerth," "ithail filii teudus," and 
" guassuith," who are clearly the "prepositi" called " Elmui," " Idhel," and 
" Wasuuic" in Domesd. (" Castellum de Estrighoiel," i. 162a i). " Elinui" also 
occurs in a grant made by Caradog ap Gruffydd (273), and Ithel not only in this, 
but also in one of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn 's (270). 

"* Domesd. i. 1876, i (Terra Grifin filii Mariadoc; Lege). 

^"^ Ibid. i87a,i (Terra Hugonis Lasne; Chenecestre). 

"8 " lUi tres cum multis aliis exhereditati sunt " (Lib. Land. 278). It should, 
however, be noted that what Powel (82) says of the share of the Welsh in the 
" Bridal of Norwich " rests on a misunderstanding of the " Bryttas " (= Bretons) 
of the A.S. Chr. 


The figures of Maredudd, Cadwgan, and Bleddyn disappear CHAP, 
from the stage shortly after that of William fitz Osbern and 
thus the men who were concerned in the early struggle for 
ascendancy along the march give place to a new generation. 
Maredudd was attacked in 1072 by Caradog ap Gruffydd of 
Gwynllwg, who brought the Normans, no doubt from Gwent, 
to his assistance and slew his rival in a battle on the banks of 
the Rhymni.^^ The realm of Deheubarth then passed to Mare- 
dudd's brother Rhys, who was too weak to defend it from- Nor- 
man raids; twice, in 1073 and 1074, Ceredigion was ravaged 
by the men of the Earl of Shrewsbury, who descended upon it 
from the mountains of Arwystli.*" About the same time 
Cadwgan ap Meurig, the last of the old dynasty of Morgannwg, 
slips out of sight,*^ his place being taken, it would seem, by the 
irrepressible Caradog ap Gruffydd."^ The last of the three to 
quit the scene was Bleddyn, who was slain in 1075 by Rhys 
ab Owain and the " uchelwyr " of Ystrad Tywi, perhaps in an 
attempt to make himself master of Deheubarth. Bleddyn had 
ruled for twelve years not ingloriously. He had defended his 
crown in the battle of Mechain in 1070, and, though he had lost 
his brother Rhiwallon in the fray, had then rid himself of two 
dangerous rivals in the sons of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, who 
had perished, the one in the battle and the other of exposure 
not long afterwards. His efforts to check the growth of the 
Norman power in the West have already been recorded. But 
more than this ; he belonged, it is clear, to the gentle and high- 
minded type of ruler so signally illustrated by Hywel the Good, 
" He was the mildest and most clement of kings," says The 
Chronicle of the Princes, preserving, no doubt, a contemporary 
Llanbadarn record, " and did injury to none, save when insulted, 
nor loved to avenge the insult when it came ; to his kinsmen 
he was gentle ; widows and orphans and the weak he defended ; 
he was the support of the wise, the glory and corner-stone of 
the Church, the delight of all lands, open-handed to all, terrible 
in war, but in peace beloved." ^' If this eulogy should seem 

''"For the date see Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 148, note (2), and the texts 
printed as an appendix to the paper. 

^'^ Ann. C. *^ Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 147, note. 

^'^So I understand the "Caratocvs rex morcannuc " oi Lib. Land. 272. The 
names of the witnesses show that the grant is oi this period. 

s^B.r. s.a. 1076 (=1078, battle of Goodwick) ; Bruts, 269. 


CHAP, overstrained, it is to be remembered that Bleddyn ap Cynfyn is 
* one of the very few Welsh princes who are known to have in- 
troduced amendments into the law of Hywel ^^ and that there 
is, therefore, solid evidence of his interest in the welfare of his 
people. His spirit of charity and benevolence supplies the 
best explanation of the fact that his murder was regarded as 
an outrage, and that, though he had no claim to rule on the 
score of birth,^^ he established a dynasty in Powys which lasted 
until the fourteenth century. 

III. The Normans in North Wales. 

The year 1075 ^nay be regarded as marking an epoch in 
the progress of the Norman Conquest alike in North and in 
South Wales. In South Wales the fall of Earl Roger and the 
decision of the crown to appoint no successor to the earldom 
helped to bring about a halt in the victorious progress of the 
Normans along the South Welsh border which lasted for many 
years. In North Wales the death of Bleddyn encouraged a 
competitor for the crown of Gwynedd to assert his claims, who, 
though at first dogged by ill-fortune, finally triumphed over all 
difficulties and not only ousted his rival but won successes 
against the Norman invaders which for ever defeated their am- 
bitions in this part of the country. 

Although Bleddyn left a numerous family, it would appear 
that no son of his was old enough at the time of his death to 
be put forward as a claimant for the crown, and Gwynedd was 
therefore seized by one Trahaearn ap Caradog, who claimed 
as Bleddyn's first cousin,*'^ and whose original seat of power 
was the cantref of Arwystli. Although the connection between 
Arwystli and Gwynedd was close,^^ it was locally a part of 
Powys, and thus the accession of Trahaearn was not cordially 
welcomed by the sensitive provincial feeling of Mon and Arfon, 

^"^LL. i. 166,252; ii. 198,678. 

*' Mostyn MS. 117, written in the last quarter of the thirteenth century, 
traces the lineage of Cynfyn through mythical ancestors to Beli Mawr (Evans, 
Rep. i. p. 63), but B.T. merely calls him " cynuyn ab gwerstan " [Brufs, 303). Cyn- 
fyn had, however, married the widow of Llj'welyn ap Seisyll, King Maredudd's 
daughter Angharad, and thus Bleddyn and Rhiwallon were uterine brothers of 
Gruffydd ap Llywelyn (Bruts, 281, 296-7, 303). 

*8 " Consobrinus " (Ann. C. MS. C.) ; "y gefynderw " (Bruts, 268). 

*'' See chapter viii. p. 249. 


especially as he brought in his train another chieftain from CHAP. 
Powys, namely, Cynwrig ap Rhiwallon of Maelor,*^^ who lorded ^^' 
it over the men of Lleyn. At this opportune moment Grufif- 
ydd ap Cynan, the representative of the ancient line of Gwynedd, 
stepped upon the scene to claim the inheritance from which 
his family had for so many years been excluded. Not since 
1039, when his grandfather lago ab Idwal had been assassin- 
ated, had any member of this house borne rule in North Wales, 
and so little was it known in the country that at his first ap- 
pearance Gruffydd was styled, not " son of Cynan," but, after 
a fashion most unusual among the Welsh, " grandson of 

Gruffydd has the unique distinction among Welsh princes 
of being the subject of a biography, which, though it is not the 
work of a contemporary, for it was composed during the reign 
of his son Owain, was written sufficiently near his time to be a 
valuable historical authority.'*^ Despite some inaccuracies and 
the inevitable disposition to magnify the deeds of its hero, the 
Ancient History of Gruffydd ap Cynan ap lago tells a story 
which is in general conformity with what is known of the history 
of the time, and in the following pages the evidence yielded by 
it is used without hesitation. According to the life, lago's son 
Cynan had found during the ascendancy of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn 
a safe retreat in the Danish kingdom of Dublin, and had married 
Ragnhildr, a grand-daughter of King Sitric of the Silken Beard." 
Gruffydd was born in 1054 or 1055 in the city of Dublin ;^^ 
under the system of fosterage, 'which prevailed among the Irish 
no less than the Welsh, he was brought up under the care of a 
family who lived at Swords, some miles to the north of the city, 
but within the limits of the Scandinavian settlements^ As 
Gruffydd grew to manhood and leaint the history of his house, 
his eyes turned more and more to Wales and to the kingdom 

'* Palmer, Ancient Tenures of Land in the Marches of North Wales (Wrex- 
ham, 1885), pp. 87-8. 

69"Grifud . . . nepos lacob " (Ann. C. MS. C). See Traris. Cymr. 1899- 
1900, 154. 

■"• For the text and a translation of this life, with historical notes, see The 
History of Gruffydd ap Cynan, by Arthur Jones (Manchester, 1910). 

''^ See note in Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 153. " Ragnell " (Evans, Rep. i. p. 339) 
no doubt represents the well-known form, Ragnhildr. 

'''^ Ibid, note 2. 

'''^ Ibid. 154, note i. Gruflfydd's foster-father, " Cerit," was at Bron yr Erw. 


CHAP, of which he was the rightful heir. No great career was open 
to him in Ireland ; his grandfather Olaf had long been dead, 
and the family of Sitric had by this time ceased to hold power 
in Dublin/'* while the death of his father Cynan, of whom he 
was probably bereft at a tender age, left it to him to prosecute 
the claim to the throne of Gwynedd. When the news was 
brought him of the death of Bleddyn, he deemed that the hour 
had come to strike a blow for legitimacy and ancient blood. 

Recognising that the chief force in his favour would be the 
tribal spirit of independence which made Mon and Arfon and 
Lleyn disdain to take orders from Powys, he landed at Aber 
Menai, the port and ferry at the western mouth of the Menai 
Straits, which gave ready access to the first two of these regions/^ 
He was gladly welcomed by the leading men of the district, and 
preparations were made for a determined attack upon Trahaearn 
and his ally Cynwrig. Help fromi any and every quarter was 
acceptable in such a conflict, and Gruffydd did not hesitate to 
take ship to Rhuddlan, where Robert of that ilk was already 
established, and beg the aid of the foreign invader, which was 
most cheerfully accorded, against the holder of the crown of 
Gwynedd. On his return to Aber Menai, a small but carefully 
chosen band of warriors, sixty men from Robert's lordship of 
Tegeingl and eighty from Anglesey, was rapidly despatched to 
Lleyn under the guidance of the three sons of Merwydd, notable 
gentlemen of that cantref who had sought shelter from the op- 
pression of Cynwrig's followers in the sanctuary of Beuno at 
Clynnog Fawr. The onslaught was so sudden that Cynwrig 
was without difficulty surprised and slain, and the sons of Mer- 
wydd regained their old position and authority. It was now 
resolved to press home the advantage which had been thus 
gained and to march upon the second and more formidable of 
the usurpers who held Gwynedd captive. With a large force 
Gruffydd made his way south, and in the cantref of Meirionydd 
came upon Trahaearn, who was no doubt advancing to meet 
his rival from Arwystli. The battle was fought in Glyn Cyfing, 

''* Eachmarcach son of Ragnall, a cousin of Gruffydd's grandfather, was 
driven out in 1052 by Diarmaid Mac Maelnambo, who held Dublin until his death 
in 1072 (War of G. and G. p. 291 ; Tighernach in Rev. Celt. xvii. p. 410). 

■"> For the events of this year Buck. Gr. ap C. is relied on. Ann. C, B.T. and 
B. Sues, merely mention Gruffydd's seizure cf Anglesey, the death of Cynwrig, 
and the battle of Bron yr Erw. 


perhaps the narrow glen now known as Dyffryn Glyncul/^ CHAP, 
and at a spot known to posterity as Gwaeterw, or the " Bloody 
Acre," a victory was won by Gruffydd which for the moment 
gave him all he desired and drove Trahaearn in headlong flight 
to his native Arwystli. 

Seated on his ancestral throne, the new ruler of Gwynedd 
inaugurated his reign by an attack upon the Norman settlement 
at Rhuddlan, holding himself in nowise bound to friendship 
with Robert because of the help he had a little earlier received 
from him. In truth, the activity of the Normans along the 
northern coast of Wales was at this time a most dangerous 
menace to Welsh independence. Since the beginning of 1070 
Chester, no longer held by the friendly Earls of Mercia, had 
been the centre of a power which knew no rest in its strenuous 
efforts to win territory from the Welsh. William I. had in the 
first instance given the city and county, with the title of earl, 
to Gherbod of Flanders, but after a brief tenure of power he 
had been succeeded by Hugh of Avranches, one of the most 
powerful of the barons in the royal train.^^ For thirty years 
the figure of Earl Hugh dominated the northern march of 
Wales ; his gross, unwieldy bulk, whence he derived the nick- 
name of " Hugh the Fat," '^^ did not more surely fix the be- 
holder's gaze than did his restless activity make itself felt from 
Snowdon to the Peak. He was devoted to sensual pleasures, 
and ever had those around him who could minister to them, 
yet, despite his corpulence and love of ease, he was no sluggish 
idler, but shared to the full the energetic Norman temper. 
Formidable in war, liberal to his followers, beset by a crowd of 
eager young retainers, he was well fitted to carry on an active 
crusade against the Welsh, and it was no fault of his or of his 
lieutenants that Gwynedd and the Middle Country did not fall 
permanently under Norman rule. Of these lieutenants the 
chief was the Robert of Rhuddlan already mentioned, a cousin 
of his, who had been trained in arms at the court of the Con- 
fessor, and after the victory of Hastings had attached himself 

"® There was a mill of " Kevyng " in this neighbourhood (^Rec. Cam. 275). 

'^ Ord. Vit. iv. 7 ; vi. 2. 

^•^ Given him by the Welsh (" Hugo Crassus," Ann. C. s.a. iioi ; " hu vras," 
Bruts, 27s) and the Danes (" Hugoni Dirgane (from Norse "drjugr"?) id est 
Grosso," Ord. Vit. x. 6). There is no ancient authority for the epithet 


CHAP, to the service of Earl Hugh.'® His merits as a soldier secured 


for him the post of danger, which was also that of greatness 
and power for the successful holder ; at KinguWilliam's com- 
mand a castle was built on the site of the stronghold of Gruffydd 
ap Llywelyn at Rhuddlan, and Robert was placed in charge, 
with instructions to use it and the adjoining cantref of Tegeingl 
as a base of operations, first against Rhos and Rhufoniog, and 
later against Anglesey and Snowdonia. This was in 1073 ; ^'^ 
it must have been very shortly afterwards that Robert entered 
upon his obstinate warfare with the North Welsh princes, at- 
tempting to capture Bleddyn by surprise and narrowly missing 
complete success ; the king escaped, but Robert's little band 
carried off much booty. ^^ Thus the war between Robert and 
the Welsh had just begun when in 1075 Gruffydd ap Cynan 
made a raid upon the new castle at Rhuddlan, destroyed its 
outworks and slew many of the defenders, and returned home 
with valuable spoil, but without having captured the solid keep 
which was the nucleus of the fortress.^^ 

It soon appeared that Gruffydd, remarkable as his first 
successes had been, had not really won a lasting victory, and he 
returned from Rhuddlan to find disaffection seething in his 
realm. This was largely due to his retention among his " teulu " 
or household troops of many of his Irish followers and com- 
panions, whose alien speech, dress, equipment and manners were 
a constant offence to the people among whom they lived, 
superadded to the unpopularity of the turbulent class to which 
they belonged. The grievance was especially felt by the men 
of Lleyn and Eifionydd, who were not attached to Gruffydd's 
house by the same long tradition of obedience and respect as 
bound to him the islanders of Mon,*'* and the murder of fifty- 
two Irishmen of the royal warband, as they slept unsuspectingly 
in their quarters in the villages of Lleyn, was the signal for a 
revolt which threw the king on the defensive in the cantref of 

" Ord. Vit. viii. 3. 

*" This is the date implied in the "per xv annos" of Ord. Vit. viii. 3 (III. 
284, first line) and it is in harmony with Buck. Gr. ap C. and with the reference 
to " Blideno " in Rooert's epitaph. 

*i " Praecipuam, pulchro Blideno rege fugato, Praedam cum paucis cepit in 
insidias " (Epitaph in Ord. Vit. viii. 3). 

^"^Buch. Gr. ap C. clearly distinguishes "y baili" from "e twr" (38 (725)). 

*^ The native line of Eifionydd had become extinct about 930; see chap, 
viii. note 57. 


Arfon. Trahaearn awoke to his opportunity, secured the aid of CHAP, 
his neighbour, Gwrgeneu ap Seisyll of Powys,^* and appeared 
with an army in the revolted cantrefs. The insurgents were 
met by Grufifydd, who had, save his Danish henchmen, only the 
dwellers of Mon and Arfon to support him, at Bron yr Erw, 
above Clynnog,^^ just as they were descending from the 
border pass of Bwlch Derwin into the low-lying plain of Arfon. 
Gruffydd's valour, which is duly set forth by his zealous bio- 
grapher, availed him nothing ; his troops were overwhelmed 
and he himself fled to Aber Menai, whence he was borne across 
the sea to the Skerries and finally to Wexford. Thus within 
the limits of this eventful year he had won, enjoyed and lost a 

For the next six years (1075-1081) Trahaearn was the chief 
ruler of Gwynedd. But, though he was strong enough to lead in 
1078 an expedition into Dyfed, of which more will be said anon, 
his power rested on most insecure foundations, and was con- 
stantly menaced, on the one hand by Gruffydd, who did not 
cease harassing him by sea, and on the other hand by the 
Normans, who saw in the divided state of the country the best 
of reasons for pushing on their schemes of conquest. The Life 
of Gruffydd speaks of a great Norman raid upon Lleyn, in 
which Earl Hugh, Robert of Rhuddlan, Warin of Shrewsbury, 
ajid a certain Walter, perhaps Walter de Lacy, were at this 
time concerned ; with Gwrgeneu and the men of Powys as 
their guides, a host of knights and foot soldiers crossed the 
passes of Eryri and encamped for a week in the hapless can- 
tref.^" But ravages of this kind, blighting as they were in their 
immediate efifects, were less dangerous to the freedom of the 
Welsh than the slow but continuous progress of the foreigner 
along the northern coast. To this neither Trahaearn nor Hywel 
ab Ithel was able to oppose any effectual resistance ; Robert 
from his base at Rhuddlan seized the latter's territories of Rhos 
and Rhufoniog, and, having imprisoned him, built at Degannwy 
on the site of an ancient British fortress, a new castle which 
was to serve as the starting-point of the conquest of Gwynedd 

** He was slain in 1081 {Ann. C. MS. B. ; B.T. s.a. 1079). Nothing is 
known of his ancestry or local connections. 

*' Cyff Beiino (Tremadog, 1863), by Eben Fardd, 32. 

88 " Guallter yarll henford " (Buck. Gr. ap C. 42 (726)) is, of course, a mis- 


CHAP, above Conway. ^^ It would, no doubt, have fallen to the lot of 
^^* Trahaeam to be the next victim of Norman aggression, had not 
Gruffydd ap Cynan cut short his career and forestalled the in- 
vader in 1 08 1. 

This was the year of the memorable battle of Mynydd Cam, 
in which all the leading figures of the period took part, and 
which left its impress permanently on the history of Gwynedd 
and of Deheubarth.^^ On the one side the combatants were 
Gruffydd ap Cynan, seeking the crown which had slipped from 
his grasp, and Rhys ap Tewdwr, king of Deheubarth, over whom 
ill-fortune had also for the moment triumphed. On the other 
were Trahaearn, Meilyr, son of Rhiwallon ap Cynfyn, and 
Caradog ap Gruffydd, now lord of Morgannwg, and probably 
bent upon adding the rest of South Wales to his realm. 
Gruffydd joined his ally at Forth Clais, near St. David's, where 
Rhys had been compelled to seek sanctuary ; he brought to his 
aid a valuable contingent of troops from Ireland, with whom 
he had sailed from Waterford harbour, Danes wielding two- 
edged axes, Irish footmen with darts and war-flails (which 
flourished spiked balls of iron), his own warriors with shield 
and glaive. The host marched out from St. David's with the 
solemn blessing of Bishop Sulien and his clergy, and at the 
close of the day came upon the enemy's camp at Mynydd 
Carn, a spot which unhappily has not been identified, though it 
cannot have been far from the borders of Dyfed. Rhys, if one is 

*^ " Duxit captivum, lorisque ligavit Hoellum, 

Qui tunc Wallensi rex praeerat manui " (Epitaph in Ord. Vit. viii. 3). 
I take this to be the Hywel ab Ithel of Ann. C. s.a. 1099 (= B.T. s.a. 1097) and 
1118 (= B.T. s.a. 1115); the Hywel ab Owain of South Wales who was killed 
in 1078 is not likely to have had any relations with Robert of Rhuddlan. Ord. 
Vit. mentions (viii. 3) the building of " Dagaunoth " and (in the epitaph) Robert's 
success against " Trehellum ". 

^^'The authorities for the battle of Mynydd Carn are Ann. C. s.a. 1079 (for 
the true readings see Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 176-7), B.T., B. Saes.,Buch. Gr. 
ap C, and the poem by Meilyr Brydydd in Mvv. Arch. I. 192 (142). The 
latter is the earliest piece of Welsh verse of which the date can be fixed by means 
of its historical allusions ; its references to Gruffydd's transmarine allies — " Irish 
black devils; savage Scots" — are explicit. Stephens' translation {Lit. Kym. (2), 
11) obscures the fact that the poet chooses to speak as a prophet of what is to 
come. As to the site of the battle, Carno (Powel, 85 ; Gw. Brut. s.a. 1080 ; Penn. 
iii. 194) does not suit the conditions, nor is this form to be found in any ancient 
authority for Mynydd Carn. Phillimore {Cymr. xi. 167) cites a passage from 
L. G. Cothi (215) which seems to connect Mynydd Carn with southern Ceredigion, 
but it is not clear that the reference is more than a bit of rhetoric, to be 
coupled with the mention of Camlan a little later. 


to believe the Life (none too impartial a witness), was not will- CHAP, 
ing to engage that night, but Gruffydd's impetuous passion ^^' 
would brook no delay, and he rushed in the fading light upon 
his foes. They were soon broken and scattered ; Trahaeam, 
Meilyr and Caradog all fell in the fray, and Gruffydd had a 
clear course before him. He made haste to ravage Arwystli 
and thereafter, Powys, the lands which had sent oppressors to 
Gwynedd, and then entered triumphantly into possession of his 
own. It was, perhaps, a secondary result of the victory that 
Gwrgeneu of Powys was slain by the sons of Rhys Sais. 

Notwithstanding this signal victory, the hour of Gruffydd's 
final triumph had not yet come. He had disposed of his rival, 
but he had still to contend with the tide of Norman invasion, 
which was now reaching its high-water mark in North Wales 
and threatening to engulf the whole region. Earl Hugh had 
no intention of recognising Gruffydd as prince of a country 
which he hoped soon, through his cousin Robert, to hold in the 
hollow. of his hand, and, with the help of Earl Roger of Mont- 
gomery, he contrived to inveigle him to Rhug in Edeyrnion, 
where he was taken prisoner and his Irish bodyguard broken 
up.^^ It was not the Norman custom to shed the blood of a 
captured enemy ; the humane teaching of the Church had to this 
extent borne fruit. But life-long imprisonment was the common 
lot of the man who had fallen into the power of his foe, and it 
is no matter of surprise that Gruffydd was carried off to the 
earl's castle at Chester, there to spend many a year in close 

Little is recorded of the movements of the principal men in 
North Wales during the next few years. But at this point 
a most valuable witness as to the precise position of affairs on 
the border appears in the Domesday survey, or " description of 
all England," compiled, as is well known, in the year 1086. 
While a detailed discussion of the notices in this record bearing 
upon Wales would carry us beyond the scope of the present 
work, it will be of great assistance to collect at this point the 
evidence which it affords as to the progress of the conflict 
between Norman and Welshman in North Wales, and, later on, 
to deal similarly with its testimony as to the South. The first 

^'^ Buck. Gr. ap C. 112 (728). " Hu " did not become " iarll amwythic" 
until 1093, so that his father Roger is probably intended. 


CHAP, point to which attention may be directed is the strong position 
held by Earl Hugh. "In Cheshire," runs the record, "the 
bishop of the city holds of the king all that pertains to his 
bishopric. All other land in the shire is held of the king by 
Earl Hugh and his men." ®^ Thus the great men of the shire, 
Robert of Rhuddlan, Robert fitz Hugh of Malpas, William 
Malbanc of Nantwich, and others, were tenants of the earl and 
bound to serv'e him in his enterprises. His resources are thus 
seen to have been such as to make him a most formidable 
antagonist. From his central stronghold of Chester, his power 
radiated in all directions. Not only the whole of our Cheshire, 
but also the modern county of Flint, both east and west of 
the Dee, with the intervening portion of Denbighshire, was 
under the authority of Earl Hugh. The northern part of this 
region formed the ancient English hundred of Atiscross,^^ so 
called from an ancient cross near Flint which no doubt marked 
the meeting-place of the men of the hundred. The heart of 
the hundred, namely, the strip of coast from Basingwerk to 
Hawarden, which was guarded on the west by a great forest, 
had never ceased, since its first occupation by the Mercians, to 
be tilled by English farmers, and what is witnessed here is 
the transference of manors, after the fashion which prevailed 
throughout England, from English to Norman lords. Earl 
Hugh came into Earl Edwin's demesne of Hawarden ; Robert 
of Rhuddlan succeeded two English landowners at Leadbrook. 
But the outlying portions of the hundred, as has been shown 
above, had been annexed by Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, and the 
next point which deserves notice in the Domesday evidence is 
the extent to which the work of Gruffydd had in the twenty 
years following his death been undone. 

Rhuddlan, where Gruffydd had held court, was now the 
centre of the movement (5f aggression against the Welsh of 
Gwynedd.®^ Around Robert's castle was a little borough, in 
which eighteen burgesses, brought thither for the comfort and 
convenience of the garrison, had trading privileges such as 
those which were enjoyed in the boroughs founded by William 

»• i. 2626 (2). 

91 i. 2686 (2). For Atiscross or " Croes Ati " see Harl. MS. 473, cited in Owen, 
Cataloguey 152, and Penn. i. 71. 
»« i. 269a. 

fitz Osbern in Herefordshire.^^ They had their church, their CKAP. 


mint, their mills and fisheries in the Clwyd ; trade was again 
springing up in the district, and its mineral wealth was not 
neglected. Of the surrounding agricultural region part was 
held by the Earl and part by Robert, but everywhere, at 
Prestatyn, Halkin, Whitford, Bodfifari and Caerwys, the plough 
was at work and a servile population was paying its dues to 
Norman superiors. Such was also the case in the valley of the 
Alun, where Gruffydd's manor of Bistre had been parcelled out 
among various lords. ^* The hundred of Exestan, held by 
Gruffydd under a formal grant from the Confessor, had in like 
manner been recovered from the Welsh ; Gilbert de Venables 
was lord of Hope,^^ and three Norman tenants of Earl Hugh 
divided between them the extensive lands of the manor of 

The losses of the Welsh were, however, not to be measured 
merely by the gains of Earl Hugh. Beyond the river Clwyd, 
the limit of the old English settlement, the authority of the 
Earl of Chester did not extend, and all that was conquered to 
the westward of this river fell directly to Robert of Rhuddlan, 
whose aim was to make himself lord of Gwynedd, with no 
homage to render save to the crown. The two cantrefs of 
Rhos and Rhufoniog were already in his possession, and, 
though the fact does not appear from the survey, the new 
castle of Degannwy was, no doubt, complete. The rest was in 
process of being absorbed, and Robert had taken the precaution 
to secure a legal title by obtaining from the king a grant of 
the whole of " Nortwales," i.e., Gwynedd, in consideration of 
an annual rent of £^0. Only the lands of the see of Bangor, 
for which it was no doubt hoped to provide a Norman 
occupant, were exempted from this grant.^^ After the fall of 
Trahaearn and the capture of Gruffydd, the English govern- 
ment clearly regarded the crown of Gwynedd as having es- 
cheated to the feudal overlord, and, passing over all Welsh 
claims, bestowed the dignity upon Robert, who thus succeeded 

8* " Ipsis burgensibus annuerunt leges et consuetudines que sunt in hereford 
et in bretuill" (269a (2)). Cf. note 52 above and Eng. Hist. Rev. xv. (1900), pp. 

** i. 26ga (2), (Biscopestrev). *" i. 2670 (i). 

»8i. 268a (i), (Gretford. In Extan hd.). 

'^i. 2690. See Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 156-7. 


CHAP, to all its pretensions. He made haste to enforce them to the 
full, and in the survey itself he is found registering a claim to 
the cantref of Arwystli, which was then in the occupation of 
Earl Roger of Shrewsbury, but which Robert's Welsh tenants 
averred was a member of the realm of Gwynedd. 

It now remains to speak of the second great lord of the 
North-Welsh march, Roger Montgomery, the friend and coun- 
sellor of the Conqueror, who bestowed many lands and privileges 
upon him, and finally, about 1071, made him Earl of Shrews- 
bury. Earl Roger's lordship of the lands of Shropshire was 
not quite so absolute as that of his neighbour in the adjoining 
county of Chester. In addition to the bishops of Chester and 
of Hereford, there were other magnates who held Shropshire 
manors directly of the king, notably Ralph Mortimer, whose 
broad lands in the valley of the Temei were partly within the 
county, but were not held of the earl.'^ Nevertheless, the 
position of Earl Roger was little removed from that of a pala- 
tine earl, ruling the shire as freely as the king his kingdom.®* 
Nearly all the leading men of the shire were his vassals, ably 
seconding him in his warfare with the Welsh. Such was the 
position of Warin the Bald, to whom he gave the office of 
sheriff and the hand of his niece Amieria, of William Pantulf, 
of Corbet, and of Robert of Sai, commonly known as Picot.^"'^ 
In the fifteen years which elapsed between Earl Roger's estab- 
lishment in the shire and the compilation of Domesday some 
changes, as was but natural, took place ; Warin was succeeded 
on his death by Rainald of Bailleul, who married his predeces- 
sor's widow,^*^ while Roger and Robert fitz Corbet appear in 
1086 in their father's stead. But the system remained the 
same ; the earl had everything in the shire which had been 
King Edward's,^**^ and, while retaining for himself some royal 
manors, such as Whittington and Chirbury, granted others 
to his lieutenants to be the foundation-stones of new depend- 

88 " Hie annotantur tenentes terram de rege in Sciropescire. . . . Comes 
Rogerius quod reliquum est tenet cum suis hominibus " (i. 252a (i)). The manors 
held of the king are separately entered on pp. 260a and b. 
»9 See Stubbs, Const. Hist. i. (3), pp. 271, 364. 

"0 Ord. Vit. iv. 7. 

101 See entries under "Dodefort" (i. 254a (2)) and "Etbritone" (2556(1)), 
with Ord. Vit. v. 13 (II. 414) and Mon. Angl. iii. 518. 

102 » jpse comes Rogerius tenet de rege ciuitatem Sciropesberie et totum 
comitatum et totum dominium quod rex Edwardus ibi habebat " (254a (i)). 


ent baronies. It was thus that Rainald was enabled in Maes- CHAP. 

bury to build the new castle of L'CEuvre and lay the foundations 

of the lordship of Oswestry ,^*^^ and that Roger fitz Corbet ob- 
tained " Alretone " as the basis of the lordship of Cause. ^^* 

A force so well equipped for attack was hardly likely to 
leave the Welsh of Powys undisturbed. The name of Mont- 
gomery became, indeed, one of mournful import throughout 
the whole of Mid Wales, and at one time it seemed impossible 
to say to what heights of greatness it might not attain in the 
country. Already in 1086 there had been considerable en- 
croachments upon Welsh territory. The commote of lal had 
been seized ; this Earl Roger had granted to Earl Hugh, no 
doubt because it marched with the hundred of Exestan.^*'^ 
Edeyrnion, the scene of the capture of King Gruffydd, and 
Cynllaith had been subdued and annexed to the Oswestry fief 
of Rainald the sheriff. A certain " Tuder Wallensis " held a 
Welsh district as the vassal of the earl ; he has been identified, 
on good grounds, with Tudur ap Rhys Sais and his territory 
was probably Nanheudwy.^"^ In the hundred of Mersete, 
which had been almost wholly lost to the English under the 
Confessor, Rainald was lord of a compact group of manors, in 
which the immigrant Welsh were retained as tillers of the soil. 
Along the Severn there had been little change ; Roger fitz 
Corbet was powerful around the Breiddin, but had not crossed 
the river into Powys. The Chirbury district was, however, 
one of the areas recaptured by the Normans ; Earl Roger re- 
stored the place, which was the ecclesiastical centre of a wide 
region, ^*'^ to something of its old importance, and not far off, 
in the border forest which three English thegns had used as a 
great chase, built a castle to which he gave the name of the 
family seat in Normandy. The new Montgomery was de- 
stined to have a history no less famous than that of the old, and 

JOS Eyton, Shrops. x. 320-1. ^°* Ibid. vii. 5. 

loi Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, i6o, note. 

108 Mr. Tait's objection (Historical Atlas of Modern Europe, ed. R. L. Poole, 
introd. to map 17) to Eyton's identification of this " finem terrae Walensis" with 
Maelor Saesneg (x. 315) is based on good grounds. Nanheudwy, on the other 
hand, is not otherwise accounted for, and, as Mr. Palmer points out {Cymr. x. 44), 
most of the old Welsh families of the Chirk district traced their descent from 
Tudur ap Rhys Sais. 

10^ It is the mother church of Churchstoke, Forden, Hyssington, Snead and 
Montgomery {Welsh SS. 345). 

VOL. II. 3 


CHAP, it became at once the starting-point of organised attacks upon 
^^* Welsh territory. Ceri and Cydewain were at the mercy of 
Earl Roger, and, after the fall of Trahaeam at Mynydd Cam, 
Arwystli, too, could offer no resistance to his victorious pro- 
gress. The year of the survey found him posted on the borders 
of Ceredigion, ready for the Montgomery invasion of Deheu- 
barth for which seven years afterwards the way was opened. 

The historian is fortunate in being able to use the evidence 
of Domesday to illustrate the power of Robert of Rhuddlan, for 
in two years after the date of the survey he disappears from 
the scene, and this without transmitting his great authority to 
any bearer of his name. Serious disorders broke out in Eng- 
land soon after the death of the Conqueror in September, 1087 ; 
the Norman magnates, for the most part, resented the arrange- 
ment which he had made for separating the duchy from the 
crown and flouted the authority of the new king. The 
malcontents included nearly all the great men of the Welsh 
border ; only Earl Hugh was sincerely loyal to the cause of 
William Rufus. Earl Roger had three sons among the 
rebellious company who held out in Rochester Castle,^**^ and, 
though he joined the king in the siege, clearly did so as much 
in the interests of the besieged as of the leader whose banner 
he professed to follow. Such, too, was the attitude of Robert 
of Rhuddlan, who returned to the Vale of Clwyd in the early 
summer of 1088, after the complete triumph of the king, to 
find out that the Welsh had taken advantage, as was ever 
their wont, of the quarrels of their oppressors to ravage and 
plunder the conquered territories.^"^ Rhuddlan had suffered 
severely, and the mortified Robert, his spirit embittered by the 

"M.S. Chr. MS. E, s.a. 1087 (Plummer, i. 224). 

"9 Ord. Vit. viii. 3 is our authority for the circumstances of the death of 
Robert. The topographical questions involved are discussed in Trans. Cymr. 
1899-1900, 157-8. The mention of " Grithfridus rex Guallorum " as the leader 
of this raid has naturally led to its being regarded as an exploit on the part of 
Gruffydd ap Cynan. But to this view there are weighty objections. Buck. Gr. 
ap C. makes Gruffydd a prisoner for twelve (or, according to another passage, 
sixteen) years after 1081, and, if it be rejoined that a mistake in the figure may 
easily have been made, there is the more serious difficulty of the absence of any 
reference to this incident of 1088 in the " Buchedd ". Had Gruffydd really won 
this triumph, it is scarcely conceivable that the affair could have escaped the 
notice of his official panegyrist, writing in the reign of his son Owain. As 
Orderic is the sole authority for the story, it seems most likely that he had been 
misinformed as to the chief who led the Welsh on this occasion. 

failure of the baronial movement, laid his plans for a ruthless CHAP, 


revenge. But all his threats came to nought. On the 3rd of 
July he was taking his midday sleep in the castle of Degannwy, 
with no thought of danger or of warlike alarms, when news 
was hurriedly brought him that three Welsh ships had been 
beached at the foot of the Great Orme's Head, and that their 
crews were scouring the tableland above and carrying off cattle, 
with women and children, as plunder to their vessels. His 
first step was to send out messengers to call together the 
armed forces of the district to repel this daring raid. But he 
soon perceived that they would come too late ; the marauders 
had already got their booty aboard and only waited the rising 
of the tide to float their vessels from the position in which they 
had grounded them earlier in the day. From those towering 
limestone cliffs he could watch them at their work, and the 
spectacle filled him with dire indignation. He refused to 
regard the situation as hopeless, begged the few unarmed 
retainers he had around him to join him in attacking the 
plunderers, and, when they declined the desperate enterprise, 
threw prudence to the winds, and, attended by a single knight, 
himself made his way down the steep mountain path towards 
the shore. Instantly the darts and arrows of the whole troop 
of Welshmen were directed against him, and, as he wore no 
armour, his shield soon fell from his nerveless hands and he 
sank to the ground in death. The enemy were upon him in a 
moment ; his head was cut off, and in barbaric triumph fixed 
as a trophy to the mast of the leading ship. By this time the 
tide was beginning to set the vessels free for their voyage 
home ; they were already afloat and speeding westward when 
Robert's men began to assemble- on the shore of the Conway, 
filled with grief at the sudden loss of their lord. The sight of 
his bleeding head spurred them at first to attempt pursuit, but 
the Welsh had gained a good start, and, when the head was 
by a counsel of prudence thrown into the sea, the men of 
Degannwy desisted from a chase which had but a bare chance 
of success. 

Notwithstanding this achievement of the Welsh, the pro- 
gress of the Normans in Gwynedd was in no degree checked. 
Earl Hugh forthwith stepped into the place of his relative, 
receiving, it may be, a formal grant from the qrown of the 



CHAP, independent lordship which had been held by Robert.^^" He 
it is, at any rate, who during the next few years is found 
actively engaged in the conquest of Mon and Arfon. According 
to the life of Gruffydd ap Cynan, castles were built by Earl 
Hugh at this time in Meirionydd, in Arfon — the one at Car- 
narvon and the other at Bangor — and in Anglesey, the last 
being, no doubt, the castle at Aber Lleiniog mentioned elsewhere 
in the life.^^^ This evidence is amply confirmed by other 
sources. It is known that a Breton named Herv6, who must 
have owed his elevation entirely to Norman influence, was 
consecrated bishop of Bangor in 1092.^^'^ In the following 
year the earl refounded St. Werburgh's house at Chester as a 
Benedictine abbey ; among the grants which he makes to the 
monks are two manors in Anglesey and one in Rhos, the tithe 
of the fisheries of Rhuddlan and of Anglesey, and the right to 
have engaged in the latter a ship carrying ten nets.^^^ At the 
beginning of the year 1094 the Norman Conquest of North 
Wales appeared almost complete, and the observer who did not 
look below the surface might well have supposed that the days 
of Welsh independence were numbered in this, its ancient and 
impregnable stronghold. But, in point of fact, the Normans 
had reached the zenith of their success in Gwynedd ; in the 
years that followed, their forces were, first, challenged and 
attacked, and, finally, driven altogether out of this region. 

IV. Rhys ap Tewdwr. 

While North Wales was in the grip of the invader, South 
Wales was ruled by a Welsh prince who had considerable 
success in the difficult task of holding the Normans at arm's 
length. Until his fall in 1093 Rhys ap Tewdwr was as fortun- 
ate as his fellow-ruler Gruffydd ap Cynan was unlucky. 
Deheubarth, it has been shown, was in 1075 in the possession 
of Rhys ab Owain, who was responsible in that year for the 
much lamented death of Bleddyn, Retribution followed with 
no halting foot; in 1078 Trahaearn of North Wales invaded 

"" Gaimar (v. 6043) says Rufus gave Hugh " Nort Wales ". 
"1 Buck. Gr. ap C. 114 (728). '♦ Hen gaer Custennin " is said of Carnarvon 
on the authority of Hist. Britt. c 25. 

"2 See p. 448. J13 Mon. Angl. ii. 386. 


Dyfed, defeated Rhys in the battle of Goodwick, not far from CHAP, 
Fishguard,^^"* and, having put all his "teulu" to the sword, 
drove him, as the " Chronicle of the Princes " puts it, " o'er rocks 
and through brakes, like a frightened stag before the deer- 
hounds ".^^^ At the end of the year he and his brother Hywel 
were killed by Caradog ap Gruffydd, and the throne of Deheu- 
barth was vacant. It was claimed by Rhys ap Tewdwr, a 
great-grandson of the Einon ab Owain ap Hywel Dda who fell 
in 984,^^® and for a year or two this claim seems not to have 
been seriously contested.^^'^ In 108 1, however, the ambition of 
Caradog ap Gruffydd impelled him to attempt the conquest of 
Deheubarth, and Rhys was so hard pressed as to be forced to 
take refuge in the church of St. David's. Here he was joined 
by Gruffydd ap Cynan, with whose aid he won the historic 
victory of Mynydd Carn — a victory which not only disposed of 
Caradog, but also firmly established Rhys upon his throne. 

The year of Mynydd Carn witnessed another event which, 
whatever its precise occasion, was undoubtedly of great import- 
ance for South Wales. It was in 1081 that William the 
Conqueror paid his one visit to Wales, which he penetrated 
as far as St. David's. The Welsh and the English accounts of 
this expedition do not depict it in quite the same light ; accord- 
ing to the monks of St. David's, the king's journey was a 
pilgrimage, undertaken out of respect for the memory of their 
saint ; ^^^ according to the English chronicle which records the 
visit, it was made at the head of an armed force and it resulted 

11'* Fenton's identification of "Pullgudic" {Ann. C.) with Goodwick in 
Pembrokeshire (second ed. p. 7) is made certain by the fact that Mostyn MS. 116, 
the probable original of the Red Book copy of B.T., calls this battle "urwydyr 
Llan wnda" (Evans, Rep. i. p. 57). 

"^B.r. s.a. 1076 (= 1078). 

"® For the correct pedigree, Rhys ap Tewdwr ap Cadell ab Einon ab Owain 
ap Hywel Dda see Gir. Camb. vi, 167 {Descr. i. 3), Mostyn MS. 117 (Evans, 
Rep. i. p. 63), and Jesus Coll. MS. 20 in Cymr. viii. 88 (No. xxiv.). The omission 
of Cadell, as in Powel (85) and Dwnn (ii. 16), led to Rhys being regarded as the 
son of the Tewdwr ab Einon who died in 994 and as performing, therefore, the 
achievements of his reign between the ages of eighty-five and one hundred ! 

1" Gw. Brut, s.a. 1077 says he came from Brittany (cf., however, "Brut 
leuan Brechfa," in Myv. Arch. H. 520 (719), which brings him from Ireland), and 
in lolo MSS. 2x5, it is added that he brought with him the " System of the Round 
Table ". Notwithstanding the reliance placed upon these statements by Stephens 
{Lit. Kym. (2) 322, 405-6) and others, it will be seen that they come from 
thoroughly untrustworthy sources. 

118" Causa orationis" (Ann. C. MS. B., with which MS. C. agrees). 


CHAP, in the " freeing " of many hundred men.^^^ There can be little 
doubt that the second is the more reasonable presentment of 
William's purpose ; devout as he was, he had other work to do 
than pay his court to remote and unfriendly sanctuaries, and his 
real motive was, no doubt, to impress the chieftains of South 
Wales with a due sense of his power and to relieve the small 
bands of Normans which were shut up in isolated castles, out of 
reach of the border. But he did not omit to pay reverence to 
the shrine of the great Dewi, and, what is more, it is most 
likely that he met in this neighbourhood the new ruler of 
Deheubarth and concluded with him a peace which lasted 
during William's lifetime. In the survey of 1086, it is said 
that " Riset " of Wales renders to the king an annual ferm or 
rent of ;^40.^^^ Now it will be noticed that this is the precise 
sum paid by Robert of Rhuddlan as lord of Gwynedd, and it is, 
therefore, an almost certain conclusion that the item represents 
the rent of Deheubarth, paid by Rhys ap Tewdwr under a 
compact which protected him in the enjoyment of his ancestral 
possessions. That he was so protected is suggested by many 
facts in the history of the period, and, if a formal agreement be 
presumed, no time is so likely to have produced it as the year 
of this expedition undertaken by the Conqueror to the utter- 
most parts of Dyfed. 

Five years after the journey to St. David's the Domesday 
survey shows the position of affairs on the South Welsh border, 
and demonstrates that there had been little advance on the 
part of the Normans since the death of William fitz Osbern. 
There had been no effective occupation of any spot within the 
modern counties of Radnor, Brecknock and Glamorgan. Certain 
Norman lords laid claim in virtue of royal grants to Radnor, 
Knighton, Norton, Cascob and the surrounding districts, but 
the region had not yet recovered from the ravages of Gruffydd 
ap Llywelyn, and there were no Norman settlements in these 
villages.^^^ Matters had apparently stood still for some ten or 
fifteen years, except for certain conquests in Ewias and Gwynllwg 

"M.S. Chr. MS. E. s.a. 1081. 

^20Domesd. i. 179a (2), (Herefordscire). Cf. Tram. Cymr. 1899-1900, 163. 

^21 Raddrenove (iSia (2)), Chenistetone (2606 (2)), Nortune (ibid.), and 
Cascop (2600 (i) and i86i (2)) were all waste in 1086. The first three were 
claimed by Hugh the Ass (Lasne), the last by Osbern fitz Richard. 


which may have been of later date. Wigmore, ClifFord, Ewias CHAP, 
Harold and Caerleon were the westernmost outposts of Norman 
rule, and the conquest of Brycheiniog and of Morgannwg had 
not yet been seriously undertaken. 

This halt in the process of conquest was more probably the 
result of want of royal encouragement than of any lack of 
enterprise in the marcher lords. Powerful barons were seated 
on the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire border. Osbern 
fitz Richard was lord of Richard's Castle and Byton, and claimed 
many vills on the confines of Maelienydd which at the time 
yielded him nothing but the game he hunted in their wooded 
glades.^^^ He had succeeded his father, Richard fitz Scrop, in 
the time of the Confessor, and had married a daughter of 
Gruffydd ap Llywelyn.^^^ At Wigmore was Ralph Mortimer, 
first of that famous English house ; the Conqueror had about 
1075 established him as a great border magnate by bestowing 
upon him a number of Shropshire and Herefordshire manors 
set free by the treason of Earl Roger and the death of the 
Confessor's widow.^^* Cleobury and Leintwardine were his, 
and he had claims, not yet substantiated, upon vills like Pilleth 
and Waterdine which bordered upon Maelienydd.^^^ The 
valley of the Clun was the domain of Picot of Sai.^^* The 
castle and lordship of Clifford had been given to Ralph ot 
Toeni,^^'^ whose principal interests lay elsewhere and who does 
not, therefore, play a conspicuous part in the doings of the 
march. Not so was it with Roger de Lacy ; he had just 
succeeded in 1086 to the lands bestowed upon his father 
Walter for gallant service against the Welsh ^^^ and was himself 
an active marcher lord ; his chief seat was at Weobley and the 
Welsh commote of Ewias was in his hands.^^® The castle of 

1" i. 1866 (2), 260a (i). Richard's Castle is " Avretone " (i.e., Overton). 

I''* Osbern held most of his lands T.R.E. as well as in 1086, and Ord. Vit. 
viii. 2 (III. 270-1) calls him " Osbernus Ricardi cognomento Scrop filius ". For 
the marriage see note 135 below. 

12'' Diet. Nat. Biog. xxxix. pp. 130-1. 

125 i. 1836, 260a, b. Pilleth is " Pelelei," with which cf. " Mair o bilale " in 
Pen. MS. 147 (Evans, Rep. i. p. 915) and " Pylaley " in Dwnn, i. 258. 

"6 i. 258a. 127 i, 1830(2). 

128 Ord. Vit. iv. 7. Walter died on 27th March, 1085 (Diet. Nat. Biog. xxxi. 
p. 389). 

i2» Weobley is the " Wibelai " of 1846 (2) ; the " terram Ewias dictam " 
is carefully distinguished (184a (i)) from the " castellaria de Ewias," which was 
at Ewias Harold. 


CHAP. Ewias was the centre of a separate lordship, held in the year 
of the survey by Alfred of Marlborough, in succession to his 
uncle Osbern Pentecost.^ ^"^ The valley of the Dore and most 
of Archenfield were parcelled out among various holders, who 
received from the Welsh inhabitants the old honey renders 
which had formerly been paid to Welsh princes. But in the 
angle formed by the meeting of the Monnow and the Wye a 
Norman settlement had taken root, with Earl William's castle 
of Monmouth as its centre. After the catastrophe of 1075, 
the king had put the place in charge of the Breton Wihenoc, 
who, on becoming a monk, had transmitted his position to his 
brother's son, William fitz Baderon, ancestor of the later lords 
of Monmouth.^" 

If it be added that Earl William's conquest of Gwent had 
been fully utilised, but that further progress in this quarter is 
at most represented by Turstin fitz Rolfs castle at Caerleon, 
with a little tilled land around it,^'^^ it will be seen that there is 
ample warrant for the view that at the death of William I. the 
South Welsh border stood much as it did in 1071, and that the 
conquest of South Wales had not begun. It can scarcely be a 
coincidence that immediately on the accession of William Rufus 
a change of attitude is to be observed. There is no reason to 
think that the new king refused to recognise the position of 
Rhys ap Tewdwr and repudiated the arrangement made by his 
father ; indeed, the contrary is suggested by the fact that the 
wholesale conquest of Deheubarth did not begin until after the 
Welsh leader's death. But Rufus could not hold the reins of 

130 i. i86a (i). Cf. Round, Feudal England, p. 324. 

^31 The early history of Monmouth is outlined in Lib. Land. 276-8, where 
it is said that the castle was built by Earl William, and, on the fall of the house of 
Breteuil and its adherents, given to " gueithenauc," who became a monk and 
was succeeded, first by " Randulf de Coliuil " and then by " Willelmus filius 
Batrun ". The charters of Monmouth Priory corroborate this account in several 
particulars, showing that " Wihenocus " became " sancti Florentii monachus " 
and was succeeded by his nephew, William fitz Baderon {Cal. Doc. Fr. 406-7). 
William was the castellan and local magnate in 1086 (i. 1806 (2)). 

^^^ There are two notices of this holding, one under Herefordshire (Terra 
Willelmi de Scohies, 1856 (i)) and another under Gloucestershire (Isdem 
Turstinus habet sex carucatas terrae ultra Huscham, 162a (2)). They differ 
somewhat in detail, but neither betokens a settlement of any importance. Hence 
the view, founded on Ann. Marg. s.a. 1081 (Et aedificata est villa Cardiviae, sub 
Willelmo primo rege), that the Normans had already reached the Taff appears 
very questionable. See Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 162. 


discipline with the firm hand of his predecessor. In the out- CHAP, 
break which followed his accession, nearly all the powerful men 
of the march, as has been pointed out above, were ranged 
against him. The barons of Herefordshire and Shropshire, 
including Roger de Lacy, Ralph Mortimer, Osbern fitz Richard 
and his son-in-law, Bernard of Neufmarche, made a determined 
attack upon the city of Worcester and brought their Welsh 
tenants in great force into the fray ; only the constancy and 
high spirit of the saintly Bishop Wulfstan saved the place from 
the violence of this motley company of rebels.^^^ One need 
not be surprised, therefore, to find evidence in this year 1088 
that a beginning is being made of the conquest of Brycheiniog. 
The records of the abbey of St. Peter's, Gloucester, assign to 
this year the gift to the abbey by Bernard of the vill and church 
of Glasbury, a place which lies well within the border of 
Brycheiniog, being about 4 miles south-west of Hay.^^* 
Bernard was the son of Geoffrey of Neufmarch6 and first 
appears in England at the end of the Conqueror's reign. By 
his marriage with Nest, a daughter of Osbern fitz Richard, he 
obtained a footing on the Welsh border and was enabled to 
undertake the conquest of the ancient realm of Brychan.^^^ 
Entering the country at its most vulnerable point, where be- 
tween the Black Mountains and the Wye a passage lies open 
to the Llyfni valley and thence to the vale of Usk, he had 
already made considerable progress and probably occupied 
Talgarth, the Welsh capital of the district, at the time that the 
death of Rhys ap Tewdwr in 1093 gave him the opportunity 
of winning a completer triumph. 

133 A.S. Chr. MS. E. s.a. 1087; Fl. Wig. s.a. 1088 (ii. 24-6) ; Ord. Vit. viii. 
2 (III. 270-1). 

1'^ Cart. Glouc. i. 80. For the importance of the church see chap. viii. 
note 249. 

135 Some account of Bernard will be found in Ord. Vit. vi. 8 ; the statement 
that he served three kings of England is confirmed by the fact that he is one of 
the witnesses (Bernardus de novo mercato) to a charter executed by William I. 
in 1086-7 in favour of Battle Abbey {Mon. Angl. iii. 245). He does not seem to 
have held any English lands in 1086. As to his marriage, there is, in addition to 
the fact that Fl. Wig. calls him son-in-law of Osbern fitz Richard, the evidence 
of the charters of Brecon Priory, which show that his wife Agnes gave to the 
priory the manor of Berrington, near Tenbury, held by Osbern in 1086 (Domesd. 
i. 1766). See Arch. Carnb. III. xiv. (1883), 141-2 ; Mon. Angl. iii. 244, 264. Gir. 
Camb. vi. 28-9 {Ititt. i. 2) further shows that Agnes was also called Nest and 
that she was the daughter of another Nest, a daughter of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, 
whose marriage to Osbern is thus established. 


^xf ^' ^hile Brycheiniog was thus feeling the first edge of the 

Norman Conquest of South Wales, the greater part of Deheu- 
barth continued, even under Rufus, to acknowledge the authority 
of Rhys. He had on two occasions to do battle for his crown, 
but on both his antagonists were Welshmen and not Normans. 
In 1088 he was attacked by the sons of Bleddyn, who now 
ruled over Powys ; at first defeated and forced to take refuge 
in Ireland, he speedily returned with the aid of a Danish fleet 
and overthrew his rivals in a battle in which Madog and Rhiryd 
ap Bleddyn fell, their brother Cadwgan escaping with his life.i'*'' 
In 1 09 1, on the death of Cydifor ap Gollwyn, a powerful mag- 
nate of Dyfed, his sons threw off their allegiance to Rhys and 
offered the crown to Grufifydd ap Maredudd, who since his 
father's death in 1072 had been an exile in England, in occupa- 
tion of the Herefordshire manors bestowed upon Maredudd 
by Earl William.^^T Qnce again Rhys was triumphant ; in the 
battle of Llandudoch, fought near the mouth of the Teifi, 
Gruffydd was defeated and slain. 

But in the Easter week (i7th-23rd April) of 1093, Rhys at 
last met his fate. He was killed by the Norman invaders of 
Brycheiniog, not far, it would seem, from the new castle they 
were attempting to build at Aberhonddu.^^s Whether he fell 
in fair fight or by treachery is uncertain ; ^^^ all that is clear is 
that his death opened the flood-gates of Norman rapacity in 
South Wales, and that its many trickling rills now united in one 
great deluge which swept the country from end to end. The 
idea that with him had disappeared such legal right as had any 
claim to respect from the dwellers on the march finds expression 
in the Welsh as well as in the English chronicles. If Florence 
of Worcester tells us that " from that day kings ceased to bear 
rule in Wales," it is in the chronicle of the Princes (Brut y 
Tywysogion) that the statement is made that with Rhys " the 

"" The name of the place at which the battle was fought is not to be recog- 
nised in the corrupt forms which have come down to us, viz., " penllecheru " 
(An7t. C. MS. B. in Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 176), " penlethereu " (MS. C. 
177) and "Ilychcrei" (BruU, 270); " llech ryt" (B. Saes. s.a. 1087), though 
adopted by Powel (88) and others, does not seem to me a happy conjecture. 

1" Domesd, i. 1876 (i). 

"8 Fl. Wig. s.a. 1093 ; Ann. C. and Bruts. 

139 Fl, Wig. says "inpugna," Gir. Camb. " dolo suorum " (vi. 89; Itin.i. 

kingdom of Wales was overthrown ".^**' Neither assertion has CHAP, 


any point for the observer who can take a wide view of Welsh 
history, but they signify that in the eyes of contemporaries the 
death of Rhys put an end to a period of orderly, legitimate rule ; 
there was no one who had a rightful claim to the position which 
he held, and force was to be henceforth the sole arbiter of the 
affairs of the distracted and unhappy country. 

140 i« Ac yna y dygwydawd teyrnas y brytanyeit " {Bruts, 270). B. Saes. (s.o. 
logi) has : " ac yna y syrthws brenhiniaeth kymre " — obviously another transla- 
tion of the same Latin sentence. 



(For the history of the period 1093-1135 I have used Annates Cambria 
and the Bruts, the life of GruflFydd ap Cynan, and the usual English sources. I 
may express here my general obligations to the work of Mr. J. Horace Round, 
whose minute and accurate knowledge of this period is so well known.) 

I. The Struggle at its Height. 

CHAP. The years 1093- 109 9 may be regarded as the crisis of the 
Norman attempt to subjugate Wales. Now that the obstacle 
had been remov^ed which was created by the position of Rhys 
ap Tewdwr, a united effort was made to carry the whole 
country by storm, and scarcely any part of it escaped invasion. 
On the other hand, the Welsh were now fully alive to the 
danger which threatened their existence as a nation, and the 
national resistance was as general in extent and as resolute in 
spirit as the occasion demanded. At the beginning of the 
twelfth century the struggle had been fought out and its broad 
issues decided, however much it might rest with later genera- 
tions to settle matters of detail ; North Wales, it was decreed, 
was to retain substantially its Welsh rulers and its independ- 
ence, while most of what was best worth having in the South 
was to fall into the hands of the invader. 

In little more than a week after the fall of Rhys,^ Cadwgan 
ap Bleddyn took advantage of the situation to ravage Dyfed, 
hoping that the overthrow of his rival might serve to aggrand- 
ise his own power and that of the kingdom of Powys. But it 
was reserved for a greater than Cadwgan to reap the benefit 
of the new turn of affairs. Earl Roger now moved from his 

^On 30th April. " Pridie Kal. May" (Ann. C. MS. B.) is rendered wrongly 
in B.T. ("yr eildydo vei "), but with fair accuracy in B. Sues. (" ychydic kyn 
kalan mei ") — one of the many proofs of their independence. 



base in Arwystli and at the beginning of July occupied Cere- CHAP, 
digion, in which he built the first Norman castle, near the 
mouth of the Teifi, at a spot then known as Din Geraint 
(Geraint's fastness), but in later times as Aberteifi and Cardigan.^ 
Thence the Montgomery hosts poured into Dyfed, which was 
soon in their power from sea to sea ; the land was conferred 
by the king upon a younger son of Earl Roger's, named Arnulf, 
who fixed his capital at the place ever since known as Pembroke, 
a name which, like Builth and Kidwelly, transfers to the Nor- 
man castle the ancient appellation of the surrounding district.^ 
The first Pembroke castle, which Arnulf entrusted to the 
custody of his chief follower, Gerald of Windsor, was hastily 
and roughly constructed in the form of a stockade,* but it was 
erected on a position of great natural strength, and it was 
partly to this that Pembroke owed its singular fortune among 
Welsh castles, in that it never fell, even temporarily, into the 
hands of the Welsh. In the eastern end of Dyfed, William 
fitz Baldwin, sheriff of Devon and a mighty man in that county, 
was commissioned by Rufus to plant another Norman post, 
which he established at Rhydygors, a ford on the Towy a 
mile south of the old Roman fort of Carmarthen and the 
church of Llandeulyddog.^ In all this no regard was paid 
to the claims of the two young sons of Rhys ap Tewdwr ; 
Gruffydd, the elder, was carried off by his friends in alarm to 
Ireland, while Hywel, less fortunate, was seized by Arnulf and 
kept in close confinement.^ 

2«' Geir Haw aber teifi (the river-mouth, not the town) yny lie aelwir dinge- 
reint. y He y grwndwalassei roger iarll kyn no hynny [i.e., before mo) gastell " 
{Briits, 289; B.T. 105, where Robert is Ab Ithel's mistake for Roger). In 
spite of the delusive similarity of the names (Cilgerran is from CerrsLtt, with the 
feminine inflexion, not from Geraint; cf. " castell cerran"m Lib. Land. 126, 
and the note on names of this type in Owen, Pemb. i. 422), Dingereint cannot 
be, as maintained by J. R. Phillips (History of Cilgerran, London, 1867, p. 84), 
the modern Cilgerran, for this is not in Ceredigion, nor is it " close to the fall of 
the Teifi into the sea ". Cardigan is a corruption of Ceredigion, formed on the 
analogy of Carnarvon and Carmarthen ; as the name of the town, it first occurs, 
in the form " Caradigan," in Cont. Fl. Wig. s.a. 1136. 

sBruts, 295; B.T. 121. For Arnulf see Ord. Vit. v. 13, 14; viii. 16, 
25 ; Cal. Doc. Fr. i. 165. 

*Gir. Camb. vi. 89 (Itin. i. 12). 

''For William fitz Baldwin see J. H. Round, Feudal England, pp. 329-30 

8 Their early history is to be gleaned from B.T. 119, 121 (Bruts, 294-5), 
where it is told in connection with their appearance in arms in 11 15. 


CHAP. Deheubarth having thus become altogether the prey of the 

invader, it was not to be expected that the regions lying be- 
tween it and the English border should escape. Rhys was 
slain, it has been seen, in a conflict with the Normans of 
Brycheiniog, and it cannot be doubted that one of the earliest 
results of his death was the occupation by Bernard of Neuf- 
march6 of the whole of the three cantrefs of that district. The 
date of the conquest of Glamorgan is not known, but, while 
there is no reason to think that the task had been commenced 
under the Conqueror,^ it was in all probability not long delayed 
after the accession of Rufus and may have been well advanced 
by the year 1093. The last Welsh ruler of the country was 
lestyn ap Gwrgant, who represented no ancient claims, but had 
seized power on the fall of Caradog ap Gruffydd in 1081.^ In 
spite of the laborious particularity with which tradition tells the 
story of lestyn's defeat and overthrow, it still remains a subject 
upon which history is perforce silent." All that can be said 
with any confidence is that the Norman leader was Robert fitz 
Hamon, a scion of a noble house who won the special favour 
of Rufus and by him was enriched with valuable possessions in 
Gloucestershire.^" Starting from this base, he no doubt began 
operations by building a castle at Cardiff, which became the 
capital and centre of his lordship ; from the banks of the TafF 
he and his attendant knights swept the whole country as far 
as the Tawe, and the history of the Welsh principality of 
Morgannwg was for ever closed. It was probably about the 
same time that the Norman Conquest of the cantref of Buellt, 
or Builth, was achieved. About 1095, Philip of Briouze, who 
had just succeeded to the lands of his father, the great Sussex 
magnate, William of Briouze, is found established at Radnor, 
which was no longer debatable border land, but the centre of 

' See chap. xi. note 132. 

8 Trans. Cymr. 1899- 1900, 145 (note), 162. 

» The legend of the conquest of Glamorgan is given diversely by each of the 
following four authorities, none of them of older date than the sixteenth century : 
Humphrey Llvvyd in Powel's Historie, 89-90 ; Sir Edward Stradling in the same, 
90-107; Gw. Brut, s.a. 1088; lolo MSS. 15-16. There is only one point at 
which it comes into contact with contemporary records, and this is its account of 
the death of Rhys ap Tewdwr. Here it is demonstrably wrong, since Rhys fell 
in battle with the Normans of Brecknock, and not with the followers of Fitz 

"Dtcf. Nat. Biog. xix. pp. 159-62 (Prof. Tout). 


a Norman lordship.^^ It is known that the lords of Radnor CHAP. 

. XII 

held Builth from the first years of Norman predominance in 

South Wales/^ and thus one is prepared to find Philip addressed 

about 1 1 00 as one of the principal holders of land in the diocese 

of St. David's.i3 

The subjugation of Wales had thus made very substantial 
progress when in the spring of 1094 Rufus left England for 
Normandy.^^ At once the Welsh, driven to despair by the 
rapidity with which their enemies were sweeping all before them, 
resolved to rise in revolt. The movement began in Gwynedd,^^ 
where in a short space of time all the castles built by Earl Hugh 
to the west of the Conway were carried by assault, the island of 
Anglesey was recovered, and a Norman army which was des- 
patched to retrieve these losses was defeated at Coed Yspwys 
by Cadwgan ap Bleddyn.^^ The Earl of Chester appears to 
have been engaged at this time in continental affairs ^'^ and the 
defence of the northern march devolved upon another Earl 
Hugh, namely, the second son of Roger Montgomery, who had 
just succeeded his father in the earldom of Shrewsbury ; ^^ a 

'^^Cal. Doc. Fr. i. 401 (No. 1120). No. 1118 (p. 400) shows that William of 
Briouze was still living at the end of 1093 ; in 1096 Philip, who had meanwhile 
succeeded his father, seems to have joined the First Crusade (No. 1119). Cart. 
Glouc. ii. 103 affords evidence of the existence of a borough at Radnor, of which 
Philip was lord, 

^^ Gir. Camb. vi. 16 {Itin. i. i). 

1^ A letter of Anselm's addresses and enjoins obedience to the Welsh Bishop 
Wilfrid upon " Roberto Comiti (i.e., Robert of Belleme, now Earl of Shrewsbury) 
et fratri ejus Ernulfo comiti et Radulfo de Mortuo Mari et Philippo de Braiosa et 
Bernardo de Novo Mercato " (H. and St. i. 300; Migne, clix. 214). The dis- 
tricts involved were probably Ceredigion, Dyfed, Maelienydd, Buellt and 
Brycheiniog respectively. As to the date, H. and St., in suggesting 1095, over- 
looked Robert's title, which imposes the limits 1098-1102. It will be observed 
that the letter gives Arnulf also the title of " comes," supporting the testimony of 
Eadmer (Rolls ed. 419) and Ord. Vit. (v. 14; viii. 25). But that he was Earl of 
Pembroke is a mere conjecture. 

"At Mid-Lent (A.S. Chr. MS. E. s.a. 1094). 

i^This is stated by Fl. Wig. s.a. 1094 (" primitus North- Walani," ii. 35) and 
confirmed by Ann. C, MS. C, B.T. and B. Saes. 

i« " Koet yspwys " {Bruts, 271) or " koet yspes " (B. Saes. s.a. 1092) has 
not yet been identified. 

17 See A.S. Chr. MS. E. s.a. 1094. 

18 But whether in 1093 or 1094 is uncertain. The former date is given for 
Earl Roger's death by Fl. Wig. and derives support from the statement of Ord. 
Vit. (v. 14; see Le Prevost, II. 422, where the date 1094 >s said to be an inter- 
polation in the text) that Roger survived the Conqueror six years. On the other 
hand, as the day was certainly 27th July (ibid.), very little time is left for the 


CHAP, victory won by him over one body of insurgents ^" was small 
amends for the loss of Gwynedd and the ravaging of many 
villages on the Cheshire and Shropshire border. Of the Welsh 
leaders, Cadwgan was certainly the most prominent and per- 
haps did most to animate his countrymen to resistance. '■^'^ But 
it is just to observe that this is the year in which GrulTydd ap 
Cynan reappears upon the stage, and one cannot doubt that 
the presence among them of their hereditary chief was a special 
encouragement to the men of M6n and Arfon. It is not 
possible to say how long he had been a prisoner,^^ nor can ab- 
solute confidence be placed in the romantic story which tells us 
how Gruffydd escaped through the daring of young Cynwrig 
the Tall of Edeyrnion, who carried him off in his fetters from 
Chester market-place, while the burgesses were at dinner, and 
bore him on his shoulders to a safe retreat without the city. 
But the account of his later wanderings in Ireland, in Ceredigion, 
in Ardudwy and in Lleyn, a homeless and hunted, but not 
friendless man, is probably trustworthy, and from it one learns 
that the help of Godred Crowan, king of Man,^^ was first in- 
voked by Gruffydd against the Norman garrison of Aber 
Lleiniog, and that, when this plan failed, he landed at Nevin, 
gathered a great host of the men of Gwynedd and took the 
castle with the slaughter of its custodian and a hundred and 
twenty other knights. Thus Gruffydd played an honourable 
and strenuous part in this conflict, which ended so signally in 
favour of Gwynedd as to give that region immunity from 
further attack for rather more than twelve months. ^^ 

The example of revolt was speedily followed by the men of 
South Wales, who fell with such fury upon the castles lately 
planted in their midst in Dyfed and Ceredigion as to destroy 

earl's operations in Ceredigion in that month, and one inclines to the later year, 
which fits in with another passage of Ord. Vit. (x. 6) giving four years (i.e., 1094-8) 
as the length of Hugh's tenure of the earldom. 
19 /I .S. Chr. ut supra. 

20 "Caduugaun," says A.S. Chr. MS. E. s.a. 1097, was the worthiest of the 
Welsh elders ; he was the son of Gruffydd's (half) brother. 

21 See chap. xi. note log. 

^ " Gothrei vrenhin," who rules " enyssed denmarc " {Buck. Gr. ap C. 116 ; 
G^-othrei in Myv. Arch. 729), can hardly be any one else. Godred died in 1095 
{Orkneyinga Saga, ed. for the Rolls Series, vol. i. (1887), pp. xliv. 413). 

^23 Until Michaelmas, 1095. The " dwy vlyned" of Buch. Gr. ap C. is an 


all save Pembroke and Rhydygors. Even the return of the CHAP 
king to England at the close of the year ^* had no effect upon 
the movement, for there was disaffection among the Norman 
magnates, and in 1095 Earl Robert of Northumberland took 
up arms against Rufus and sought to place Stephen of Aumale 
upon the throne. The greater part of the year was devoted to 
the suppression of this rebellion, which had in another respect a 
bearing upon Welsh history, in that it brought about the fall 
of Roger de Lacy ; for his share in this conspiracy he was dis- 
inherited and driven from England, while his possessions were 
given to his brother Hugh.^^ Thus it was not until the end of 
the year that the king was free to undertake operations against 
the Welsh. Little had been done meanwhile by the barons of 
the march ; Glamorgan and Brecknock were still firmly held, 
and from these lordships attacks were directed upon Gower, 
Kidwelly and Ystrad Tywi, but the ardour of the insurgents 
was in no way abated and the capture of the border castle of 
Montgomery, to the imminent danger of South-western Shrop- 
shire, was the deed of daring which convinced Rufus that he 
must throw the power of the crown into the quivering 

The expedition which followed was in no way remarkable, 
and belonged, indeed, to a type of which the next two centuries 
were to furnish many examples.^'^ It entered North Wales in 
the month of October in formidable strength, divided among 
a number of detachments, which were to move along various 
roads converging upon Snowdon. Woodcutters cleared the 
tangled thickets and clumps of woodland which not only 
hindered the progress of the English, but provided excellent 
cover for their foes. About 1st November the whole force 
assembled at Mur y Castell in northern Ardudwy. It was 
then realised that the campaign, instead of being closed, ac- 
cording to anticipation, in time for a retreat before the rigours 

24 Dec. 29 (Fl. Wig.). 

25 Ord. Vit. viii. 23, where it is said that the king also fined Earl Hugh of 
Shrewsbury £3000 for his part in the revolt. 

2M.S. Chr. MS. E. s.a. 1095. 

'"Details are supplied by A.S. Chr. MS. E. s.a. 1095 and Buck. Gr. ap C. 
118-20 (730-1). The latter allows the spirit of panegyric to carry it so far as 
gravely to assert that it was only the magnanimity of Gruffydd which saved the 
life of Rufus, as David had spared that of Saul 1 
VOL. II. 4 


CHAP, of winter, was merely beginning ; the Welsh, with the mobility 
^^^" characteristic of a people having little but portable property, 
had deserted their homesteads before the advance of William's 
troops, carrying off their cattle and household goods, and, 
having transferred these belongings to safer quarters in Mon 
and in Eryri, were now harassing the invaders by a succession 
of ambushes. Rufus resolved to rest content with the display 
of power which he had made, and returned to Chester without 
having checked in any degree the violence of the storm which 
was raging in the country. . 

Throughout the year 1 096 the tide of revolt ran high. On 
the death of William fitz Baldwin, the garrison he had placed 
in Rhydygors abandoned the castle, and thus another Norman 
outpost, the last except Pembroke in this region, was swept 
away. Emboldened by the success of their comrades in the 
north and the west, the Welsh of Brycheiniog, Gwynllwg and 
Gwent threw off the yoke and won victories which at the moment 
made no small stir, though their ultimate effect was small, owing 
to the failure to capture the castles in these districts.^^ The 
men of Gwent repelled an army which had marched upon them 
from Glamorgan ^^ and inflicted great slaughter upon it at Celli 
Carnant.^" The men of Brycheiniog, led by Gruffydd and Ifor, 
sons of Idnerth ap Cadwgan,^^ fell upon another host which 
had issued from the same region and totally routed it at Aber 

28 B.r. and B. Saes. (both s.a. 1094) have different renderings of the passage 
about the castles and the men of the country, but they agree that the castles were 
not taken. 

2" That the armies which in 1096 invaded Gwent and Brecknock came from 
Glamorgan is an inference, but one which seems to fit in well with the facts of 
the case. 

30 The forms of the name (Cellidarnant, Ann. C. MS. B. ; Kellitaruant MS. C. ; 
Kelli carnant, Bruts, 272 ; Kelli camawc, B. Saes.) vary so widely that it is diffi- 
cult to fix the spot, 

^^Cadwgan was the son of Elstan Glodrydd (Bruts, 302, and Mostyn MS. 
117, as cited by Evans, Rep. i. p. 63. II. d), who is well known as the founder of the 
fifth of the " Royal Tribes " of Wales, but of whom nothing is recorded on any 
good authority. Besides Idnerth, Cadwgan had two other sons, Goronwy and 
Llywelyn (Jesus Coll. MS. 20 in Cymr. viii. 88, Nos. xxx. and xxxii.), who appear 
in 1075 and 1077 as opponents of Rhys ab Owain (Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 174, 
note). Goronwy, or Gronw (d. iioi), was the father of the Hywel ap Gronw men- 
tioned in the text of the above paragraph (d. 1106) ; Llywelyn was slain in 1099 
by the men of Brycheiniog. The sphere of influence of the family was Buellt 
and Rhwng Gwy a Hafren ; from it, through Madog ab Idnerth (d. 1140), sprang 
the later princes of Maelienydd and of Elfael. 


Llech, about three miles north-east of Ystrad Gynlais.'^" It CHAP, 
seemed possible that even Pembroke, stoutly as it was defended 
by Gerald, might fall into Welsh hands ; Uchtryd ab Edwin 
and Hywel ap Gronw,^^ with the aid of the " teulu " of Cadwgan 
ap Bleddyn, invaded the peninsula and closely beset the castle, 
while the country around was ravaged far and wide. The siege 
was a notable one and many tales were told in later years of 
the skill and courage of the castellan.^* So dark was the out- 
look that a number of knights made ready to escape from the 
fortress in a little vessel while the seaward passage was still 
open ; Gerald frustrated their purpose and punished them by 
investing their squires with their lands and dignities. The last 
four flitches of bacon which the garrison possessed were cut into 
pieces and flung from the battlements into the midst of the 
besieging army, in order to give the impression that food was 
abundant within and that it was, therefore, useless to expect to 
starve the men of the castle into surrender. A more subtle 
device was the plan adopted by Gerald of writing a letter to 
his superior Arnulf, to the effect that he need not trouble to 
relieve him for four months, and then contriving that the bearer 
of this missive should lose it at Lamphey, some two miles away, 
where Bishop Wilfrid, then in residence at the place, was soon 
put in possession of it and did not fail to communicate its tenor 
to the Welsh leaders. Whether as a result of this manoeuvre 
or not, the siege was unsuccessful ; Uchtryd and Hywel, having 
amassed a great quantity of booty, gave up the more important 
task of reducing their enemies' stronghold and retired with their 
plunder, leaving Gerald once more master of the shores of Mil- 
ford Haven. This failure to capture Pembroke was a turning- 
point in the history of the South Welsh revolt. It left to the 

^"^ For the river Llech see Breconsh. (2), p. 490. 

^'Hywel's ancestry is given in note 31 above; Uchtryd and his brother 
Owain are said to have been the sons of Edwin ap Gronw ab Einon ab Owain ap 
Hywel Dda, an unattested but not an impossible pedigree. Edwin married 
Iwerydd, a half-sister (on the father's side) of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn {Bruts, 303) ; 
it has been conjectured that he was the freeman of the name who held " Coleselt " 
(= Coleshill, near Flint) both under the Confessor and in 1086 (Domesd. i. 2686 
{2); Taylor, Historic Notices of Flint, London, 1883, p. 10). 

^* Gir. Camb., who relates these anecdotes (vi. 89-90 {Itin. i. 12)), does not 
supply a precise date, but the siege of 1096 is the event with which it is most 
natural to connect them. Wilfrid's " hospitium " is also not indicated, but, as it 
was clearly not far off, there is little risk in supplying the name of Lamphey. 



CHAP. Normans a most important base of operations, from which the 
process of reconquest might be carried on. At the beginning 
of 1 097 Gerald was sufficiently secure of his position to venture 
upon a raid into Pebidiog, intended, no doubt, as an act of re- 
taliation for the favour shown by Bishop Wilfrid towards the 
insurgents. The spring saw Rufus once more in Wales.^^ 
Though the Welsh and the English chroniclers agree that the 
expedition was as barren of results as that of 1095, the castles 
which the king ordered to be built must have had some effect 
upon the situation, and all the signs henceforward point to a 
gradual subsidence of the revolt in the South, leaving the Welsh 
at the end of the reign in possession of Ceredigion and Ystrad 
Tywi only. 

But in the North the issue of the conflict was very different. 
In the summer of 1098 Earl Hugh of Chester resolved to make 
a serious effort to repair the losses he had sustained at the hands 
of the Welsh in the region of Mon and Arfon.^" He obtained 
the service as guides of Owain and Uchtryd ab Edwin, men 
who in all probability were tenants of his in Tegeingl and whose 
ambition was no doubt tempted by the hope of large rewards. 
Earl Hugh of Shrewsbury joined forces with his brother earl 
and the army made for the shores of the Menai Straits. Gruffydd 

35 According to Eadmer {77-9, 377), the Welsh expedition came between 
William's return from Normandy (just before Easter, A.S. Chr.) and the Whit- 
suntide court, held this year at Windsor. A.S. Chr. MS. E. and Fl. Wig. also 
place it after Easter, but the former has a further note of time, pointing to the 
month of July. For this reason, Freeman (William Rufus, i. pp. 572, 583 ; ii. pp. 
iio-ii) suggested a double campaign, divided by Whitsuntide. But it is strange 
that no Welsh or English authority should mention such a break in the operations, 
and I adopt the simpler solution of supposing that an error has crept into the 
A.S. Chr. There is a further doubt as to whether the king in this year visited 
South or North Wales, a point as to which no direct evidence is available. It is 
in favour of the South that Buck. Gr. ap C. only speaks of one invasion of 
Gwynedd by Rufus and that Gir. Camb. (vi. log-io (Itin. ii. i)) has a story which 
brings the king to the neighbourhood of St. David's. 

38 For the events of this memorable year see Ann. C. MSS. B.C. s.a., B.T. 
and B. Sues. s.a. 1096, Buch. Gr. ap C. 120-4 (731-2), Fl. Wig. s.a., Ord. Vit. x. 
6, Gir. Camb. vi. 129 (Itin. ii. 7), Corpus Poeticum Boreale, ed. Vigfusson and 
York Powell (Oxford, 1883), ii. 242, and Orkneyinga Saga (ed. Vigfusson for the 
Rolls series), i. 69-70. Ord. Vit. gives the date of Earl Hugh's death (" circa finem 
Julii mensis "), but his account of the campaign is coloured by his desire to re- 
present the earl's action in the best possible light ; the expedition to North Wales 
was, according to him, designed to prevent Magnus from invading the realm. 
Wm. Malm. ("Angliam per Anglesiam obstinatus petebat" — G.R. ii. 376 
(ii. 506)) has the same story, but it is most improbable and reads like an after- 


ap Cynan and Cadwgan ap Bleddyn, as leaders of the Welsh CHAP, 
resistance, adopted the policy of withdrawing, with all their 
people, into the isle of Anglesey, and there, with the help of a 
hired fleet from across the Irish Channel, defending themselves, 
in the expressive language of Gruffydd's biographer, " as in a 
fortress girt by the ocean ". It was a wise movement, had the 
honour and good faith of the Danish mercenaries been proof 
against, corruption, but, when the two earls encamped on the 
coast of Arllechwedd, it soon appeared that the foreign fleet 
was open to consider a higher offer, and ere long Gruffydd found 
his allies turned against him and the Normans pouring into the 
island. Thinking that all was lost, he and Cadwgan fled in a 
panic to Ireland, and the triumph of the invaders was for the 
moment complete. There followed a week, perhaps more,^'' of 
rapine and carnage, when even the protection of religion was of 
no avail. Men especially remembered, in the light of his tragic 
fall so soon afterwards, the impious violence of the Earl of Shrews- 
bury, how he had made the church of Llandyfrydog a kennel 
for his dogs and had cruelly mutilated an aged priest who had 
given counsel to the Welsh. When the riotous fury of the 
victors was at its height, a sudden change was wrought by the 
appearance off Priestholm of a strange flotilla. It was that of 
Magnus Barefoot, king of Norway, who in the course of a great 
raid upon the islands of the West had reached Man and was 
now making for the sister isle of Anglesey. He had no special 
quarrel with the Welsh or their oppressors, but in the true pirate 
spirit at once attacked the force which he found in possession, 
and the " battle of Anglesey Sound " began. It is described in 
lively terms by the king's poet, Gisl Illugisson, who tells how 
" the men of Magnus scored many a target with their bright 
spear points," and how " the king shot with both hands . . . the 
white arrowheads sped from the bow he drew ". The Earl of 
Shrewsbury, known to the Norsemen as " Hugh the Proud," 
was a conspicuous figure on the Anglesey shore, clad in full 
armour and riding hither and thither in the swirling shallows. 
In the midst of the conflict he fell, pierced through the eye by 
an arrow which was universally believed to have been aimed by 

"Fl. Wig. says Hugh fell on the seventh day after the outrage upon 
" Cenred " the priest ; Gir. Camb. dates the event " infra mensem " from the de- 
secration of Llandyfrydog. 


CHAP. Magnus himself; the sea closed over his body, which was not 
recovered until the retreating tide left it where it sank. This 
disaster spread consternation through the ranks of the invaders, 
but the king took no advantage of his success ; the fleet sailed 
away as suddenly and with as little purpose as it came, and the 
Normans were once more in control of the island. 

Yet it would seem that their position had been seriously 
imperilled, and that the attempt to convert Anglesey into a 
Norman settlement was now to be finally abandoned. The 
captives, young and old, whom they had gathered together in 
the course of the expedition, were carried off across the Conway, 
but it does not appear that any substantial body of troops was 
left to occupy the conquered districts, and, if there was any 
representative of Earl Hugh's authority in M6n and Arfon at 
the end of the year, it can only have been the Welshman Owain 
ab Edwin, whose resistance to any movement in favour of 
independence was not a thing to be reckoned upon.** Most 
truly is it said by Giraldus Cambrensis that the power of the 
English in Anglesey ceased from the hour of the death of Earl 
Hugh. If at first sight the event appears too casual to have 
brought about so complete a change in the position of affairs, 
one must take into account the importance of sea power as a 
necessary element in every scheme for the conquest of the lands 
lying west of the Conway. Without control of the sea passage 
to Chester, Rhuddlan and Degannwy, the Norman holder of 
Anglesey was in a helpless plight, at the mercy of countless 
foes who could bar every road whence he might expect supplies 
and reinforcements. The attack of King Magnus, though the 
danger in this case had so suddenly passed away, showed how 
a real and formidable peril might arise, and it was decided that 
the risks of campaigning in Gwynedd were too great to warrant 
any further attempts at conquest. 

The fruit of this decision is seen in the following year, 
when Gruffydd and Cadwgan, learning that the skies had 
cleared, returned to Wales. Gruffydd recovered Mon, most 
probably with the consent of the Earl of Chester ; Cadwgan 
was invested by Robert of Belleme, the new Earl of Shrewsbury, 

38 The passage about Owain does not occur in either MS. of Ann. C. and is 
differently rendered by B.T. and B. Saes. Hence it is not easy to define his position 
after the withdrawal of the Normans. 


with Ceredigion and his share of the family inheritance of CHAP. 
Powys. While the Normans showed no disposition to relax 
their hold upon such regions as Glamorgan, Brecknock, Dyfed, 
Tegeingl and Rhos, the years of the revolt had taught them 
that there were others, such as Anglesey, Powys and Ceredigion, 
which they could not retain in their own hands without serious 
risk of disaster. 

II. The Predominance of Powys. 

The salient feature of Welsh history during the first half of 
the reign of Henry I. is the prominence of Powys and its ruling 
family, the house of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn. Exposing to England 
a long frontier, which was pierced by valleys giving access to 
its inmost recesses, the realm of Powys was not fitted by nature 
to play a heroic part in the conflict between Welsh and English ; 
its chieftains had no Eryri in which to entrench themselves in 
the hour of danger, and they usually appear, therefore, as allies 
of the foreigner, or, at the best, as vassals of the stronger state 
of Gwynedd. During the opening years of the twelfth century, 
however, Powys, under the guidance of the sons and grandsons 
of Bleddyn, enjoyed a brief predominance, and the deeds of its 
rulers furnish for a time the central point of interest in the 
history both of North and South Wales. At first sight this 
may be supposed to be due to the fact that the house of 
Bleddyn had a chronicler, the cleric of Llanbadarn Fawr who 
kept the record now embodied in " Brut y Tywysogion," ^'-^ a 
man who had a particular kindness for the family and a special 
pride in its achievements. But this fact is an index merely to 
one of wider significance ; the church of Llanbadarn did but 
honour the dynasty which was supreme in its own land of 
Ceredigion, and this position, an altogether exceptional one 
for Powys, well illustrates how in this age that kingdom was 
extending its influence in all directions. Fortune for a few 
years favoured the land of Cadell and Tysilio ; the temporary 
suspension of the line of Deheubarth, the ruin, which Gruffydd 
ap Cynan was slowly and painfully repairing, of the realm of 
Gwynedd, and the fall, in the height of its power and glory, of 
the house of Montgomery, all gave for the time being an 

3" For the home of the writer of B.T. at this time, see that work, pp. 130-4. 


CHAP, advantage to the rulers of Powys which they did not enjoy 
under I ordinary conditions. 

' In 1 098 Robert of Belleme had succeeded his brother as 
Earl of Shrewsbury, and thus the eldest and, by general ad- 
mission, the most bloodthirsty and tyrannical of the sons of 
Earl Roger was brought into close relations with the Welsh. 
His four years' rule of the border was no doubt marked by 
violence and oppression,*" but the building of a new castle at 
Carreghofa, intended to command the valleys of the Tanat 
and Vyrnwy, is the only measure undertaken by him against 
the Welsh of which there is specific record.*^ On the other 
hand, his cession of Ceredigion to Cadwgan has already been 
mentioned, and his relations with the sons of Bleddyn were on 
such a footing as to make it possible for him to win their sup- 
port in the hour of need. His ruin was in truth wrought, not 
by his cruelty and misgovernment, but by his overweening am- 
bition, which from the first months of the new reign attracted 
the jealous eye of the king, a monarch who would tolerate no 
rival in his dominions. The crash came in the summer of 
1 102, when the earl, having been summoned to Henry's court 
to answer charges which he could not meet, resolved to appeal 
to arms and put all the castles of his various lordships in a 
state of defence.*'^ Henry first took measures for the reduction 
of Arundel in Sussex and Tickhill in Yorkshire ; he had then 
before him the more difficult task of breaking down the strong 
position which Robert had made for himself in his earldom of 
Shropshire. Not only was Shrewsbury strongly fortified and 
the new castle of Bridgenorth made almost impregnable, but 
the Welsh vassals of the earldom, Cadwgan, lorwerth and 
Maredudd ap Bleddyn, were induced by gifts and promises of 
freedom to throw in their lot with their feudal lord. Robert 
led them to the pillage of Staffordshire and encouraged them 
to carry off their booty to the Welsh hills, where there was 
small chance of its being recovered. As Robert's brother 

^'Ord. Vit. says (x. 7 (IV. 32)) " per quatuor annos immania super Gualos 
exercuit," but gives no details. 

*i " Coepit etiara in Walonia aedificare aliam (arcem), in loco qui Caroclove 
dicitur" (Fl. Wig. s.a. iioi). Carreghofa is a township in the parish of Llany- 
mynech. For the history of the castle see Mont. Coll. vii. 377-88. 

*2 For the fall of Robert and his brother Arnulf see Ord. Vit. xi. 3 ; Fl. Wig. 
s.a. II02 ; B.T. and B. Sues. s.a. iioo. 

Arnulf was a confederate with him in his rebellion and could CHAP. 


command Dyfed and assistance from Ireland, the king was 
confronted by a serious situation ; for the first (but by no means 
the last) time in the history of the border, baronial pride had 
come to terms with patriotic enthusiasm, and the combination 
threatened to leave him little he could call his own in the 
western parts of his realm. During the siege of Bridgenorth 
the position was anxiously reviewed ; it was finally resolved to 
endeavour to detach the Welsh from a cause which could 
ensure them no lasting advantage, and William Pantulf, a large 
holder of land in North-east Shropshire,"*^ whom Robert had 
dispossessed, was deputed to win over lorwerth, deemed the 
most influential of the three brothers. The plan was completely 
successful ; before Earl Robert, or, indeed, the other two 
leaders of the men of Powys, who were still working in his in- 
terest, had time to realise that a change of front had taken 
place, a great Welsh host was ravaging Shropshire at the bid- 
ding of lorwerth, and the earl's Welsh alliances had become a 
rope of sand. After this, the surrender of Bridgenorth was not 
long delayed, and when Henry marched upon Shrewsbury, 
Robert accepted defeat as inevitable, resigned himself to the 
king's mercy, and was allowed to leave England, shorn of all 
his possessions on this side of the Channel and under sentence 
of perpetual banishment from the realm. 

The fall of Robert involved all the members of his house 
who held English land in the like doom, and Arnulf had soon 
to abandon Dyfed. During the struggle he had not only forti- 
fied Pembroke, but had also entered into an alliance with 
Murkertagh O'Brien, the powerful ruler of Dublin and of a 
great part of Ireland, whose daughter he married.** But he 
had reaped no advantage from the Irish connection, for the 

*^ Domesd. i. 257a (2), h (i). 

'^ The account of the Bruts as to the relations between Arnulf, Murkertagh, 
and Magnus appears to be fairly accurate, except that Arnulf married one daughter 
(called " Lafracoth " by Ord. Vit.) and Sigurd Magnusson another (whom the 
Orkneyinga Saga calls " Bjadmunja "). On the other hand, the story of Ord. Vit. 
(xi. 8) is difficult to accept, especially when it is remembered that Magnus fell in 
a chance skirmish near Downpatrick, which was not within the territory of Murker- 
tagh. At the same time, it is right to say that the difficulties have been needlessly 
enhanced by the general assumption (Freeman, William Rufus, ii. p. 624 ; Diet. 
Nat. Biog. xlix. p. 103) that the " regi " to whom Arnulf was finally reconciled was 
Murkertagh, and not Henry I. 


CHAP, reappearance in the Irish Sea of the great Magnus Barefoot 
had raised for Murkertagh a problem far more urgent than was 
presented by the difficulties of his son-in-law. The King of 
Norway spent the winter of 1 102-3 in the Isle of Man, building 
castles for which the material was partly obtained from the 
forests of Anglesey,*^ nor was it until he fell in August, 1103, 
in the course of a raid upon Ulster, that Murkertagh once more 
breathed freely. Meanwhile the house of Montgomery had 
been overthrown, and, though Murkertagh wrote to Arch- 
bishop Anselm to thank him for his kindly intervention on be- 
half of Arnulf,*' he took no active steps to aid his son-in-law in 
his resistance to Henry. Pembroke was resigned to the king, 
and its first Norman lord spent the rest of his days in compara- 
tive obscurity among his own people, his unconsidered old age 
a pathetic contrast to the splendour and ambition of his prime.*^ 
Many changes resulted from this uprooting of the most 
powerful family in Wales and its borders. Following the 
example of the Conqueror in 1075, Henry refrained from filling 
the va:cant earldom, and, while still treating Shropshire as a 
marcher lordship rather than as an ordinary shire, governed it 
through ministers of his own. It was probably not long after 
1 102 that he set over it as viceroy or justiciar one Richard of 
Beaumais, a clerical retainer of the Montgomery family who 
had given proof of business aptitude.*^ In 11 08 Richard was 
raised to the see of London and for the next fifteen years he 
exercised with vigour and success the not very consonant 
functions of bishop and warden of the march. As for the 
Welsh lands of Robert and Arnulf, it had been part of the 
bargain with lorwerth that these should be conferred upon 
him ; Powys, Ceredigion, Ystrad Tywi, Gower, Kidwelly and 
Arnulfs half of Dyfed (the other was vested in the Fitz Baldwin 
family) had all been promised to him. He was soon to learn 
that he had been duped and that Henry had quite other plans 
for most of these districts. About Powys and Ceredigion no 

45 '< A gwedy torri llawer o wyd defnyd " {Bruts, 277). According to the 
Chronicle of Man (ed. Goss for the Manx Society (vol. xxii. of series), Douglas, 
1874, p. 58), Magnus had in 1098 similarly obtained timber from Galloway for 
the building of his Manx forts. 

■"• " Genero meo Ernulfo auxilio et interventione . . . succurristi " (Letter of 
Murkertagh to Anselm in Migne, clix. 243 (IV. 85)). 

*'' For Arnulfs later life see Eadmer, 41Q-20 ; Ord. Vit. xi. 3, 8 ; xii. 8. 

■•8 Eyton, Skrops. ii. pp. 193-201. 


difficulty was made, and the arrangement under which Cadwgan CHAP 
took from his brother the latter region, with a share of the 
family realm, was confirmed. But when lorwerth, having 
handed Maredudd, as a dangerous disturber of the peace, to the 
royal custody, appeared to claim the rest of the expected 
reward, he found that Pembroke was to be given to a Norman 
knight named Saer,*^ while Hywel ap Gronw was to be lord of 
Ystrad Tywi, Gower and Kidwelly. Such treatment of a man 
who knew well how valuable the service he had just rendered to 
the king was not likely to quicken his loyalty to the crown, and 
it is only what one would expect that in 1 103 lorwerth should 
be arraigned at Shrewsbury before a royal tribunal and on 
conviction thrown into prison. 

Yet, if lorwerth and Maredudd failed personally to profit by 
the revolution which had come about, Cadwgan was able to 
take full advantage of it and held for some years a very strong 
position. Hywel ap Gronw did not live long to enjoy the 
broad lands Henry had bestowed upon him in Deheubarth ; in 
1 105 ^^ Richard fitz Baldwin took steps to reassert his rights in 
Eastern Dyfed and rebuilt and replenished the castle at Rhyd- 
ygors which had been destroyed on the death of his brother 
William in 1096.^^ Only the river Towy parted the castle from 

^^ Nothing is known of this knight, though the name as given in the Bruts is 
clearly genuine. 

''"Between 1102 (fall of Earl Robert) and 1114 (Henry's first Welsh expedi- 
tion) MSS. B. and C. of Ann. Camb. disagree in their chronology, and at first 
sight it is difficult to say which has preserved the true dating. But it is to be 
observed that, while B. has correct dates for several of its entries hereabouts which 
can be checked, e.g., the notices of the conquest of Normandy (1106), the founda- 
tion of St. Mary's, Southwark (1106), the council of London (1107), the plague of 
1112, and the admission of St. Bernard to Citeaux (11 13), none of these are to be 
found in C. or the Bruts, so that it is clear they were inserted at some time in the 
original chronicle and afford no guarantee of the correctness of the dating in other 
respects. On the other hand C. is correct in the dating of three events which 
also appear in the Bruts and in two cases in B. also, viz. : (i) Capture of Duke 
Robert in 1106 (first notice s.a. 1105 in B., in which there is through confusion a 
double entry). (2) Death of King Edgar of Scotland in 1107 (B.T. only). (3) 
Capture of Robert of Belleme in 11 12 (B. has 1113). It is to be concluded, there- 
fore, that C. is the MS. which preserves the order of the original compiler, and I 
have followed it in the text. As B. Saes. has omitted the blank year 1104, its 
dates, in and after 1102 = 1105, are three, instead of two, years in arrear up to 
1118 = 1121. These, it is to be remembered, are the dates printed by Ab Ithel in 
his edition of B.r. 

^1 Richard succeeded his brother as sheriff of Devon and died in 1 136. Refer- 
ences to him will be found in Round, Feudal England, pp. 330, 472-3, 486, and 
Peerage and Family History (1901), p. 214. 


CHAP. Hywel's domains in Kidwelly, and hostilities between him and 
the garrison were inevitable. By the foul treachery of Gwgon 
ap Meurig, who was foster-father to his son and in whose house 
he was sleeping in all confidence, he was in the following year 
done to death, and thus one possible rival to Cadwgan was 
removed by Norman violence. In 1105 Saer was also dis- 
possessed of Pembroke, and the custody of the castle and the 
surrounding region was given by the king to Arnulfs old 
castellan, Gerald of Windsor. Gerald had about 1 1 00 married 
Nest, a daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, in order to buttress his 
position as officer by means of something like a territorial 
claim,^^ but he had not the prestige of the name of Montgomery 
to support him in his difficult position, so that he was not at 
first a serious check upon the power of Cadwgan. In North 
Wales that prince was even more securely established. Owain 
ab Edwin had died in 1105, having profited nothing by his 
adhesion to the foreign cause in 1098. His brother Uchtryd 
became Cadwgan's vassal, receiving from him Meirionydd and 
Cyfeiliog on the purely feudal condition, of which this is the 
first example in Welsh history, that he would be faithful to his 
lord and render him succour against all his enemies.*^ Hywel 
ab Ithel, the hereditary lord of Rhos and Rhufoniog, who had 
been forced to flee to Ireland in 1099,^* was established on his 
return in so much of these cantrefs as was not actually held by 
the Normans, and the power behind his little throne was that of 
Powys and the sons of Bleddyn.^* Grufifydd ap Cynan, under 
whom Gwynedd was after the lapse of many years to regain her 
ancient predominance, is admitted by his panegyrist to have held 
during this period a quite modest position as the lord of the 
seven cantrefs west of the Conway and north of the Mawd- 
dach.^" Only in Arwystli, where the sons of Trahaearn ap 

" Gir, Camb. vi. gi {Itin. i. 12). 

•^'This appears from an observation made by the writer of the original of 
B.T. and B. Saes. in narrating the events of 1116; see Bruts, 303, B.T. 140, 
Myv. Arch. II. 552 (674, col. 2). 

■'*Ann. C, and Bruts. See chap, xi., note 87. 

'* " Kanys oe hamdiffyn wynteu (Maredudd and the sons of Cadwgan) ae 
kanhaledigaeth yd oed ef yn kynnal y gyfran or wlat a dathoed yn ran idaw " 
{Bruts, 303 ; B.T. 142 (1115 == 1118)). 

88 Buck. Gr. ap C. 124 (732-3). The account of Gruffydd's progress is not 
quite clear, but it is implied that he reached in a few years the position indicated 
in the text. 


Caradog were now beginning to assert themselves, was there CHAP, 
dangerous opposition to the influence of Powys, and the 
slaughter of Meurig and Grififri, sons of Trahaearn, in 1 106 by 
Cadwgan's son Owain was the first incident in a long feud 
between the two houses. 

In spite of the favours heaped by fortune for a time upon 
him, it cannot be said that Cadwgan showed himself the man to 
profit by his good luck and to wrest still further advantages 
from the capricious hand of fate. His was a weak character, 
amiable, no doubt, but wanting in the sterner qualities which 
were demanded by the problems of statecraft in that turbulent 
age. The very vigour and energy of the house of Bleddyn, 
which might have proved so serviceable under the control of a 
recognised head, was under the lax rule of Cadwgan turned 
suicidally against itself, and the violent family quarrels of the 
next thirty years supply the readiest explanation of the speedy 
decline of Powys as the dominant power in Wales. Besides 
lorwerth, who was still a prisoner of the king's, and Maredudd, 
who escaped from captivity in 1107, there were the numerous 
sons of Cadwgan, led by Owain his heir,^^ and two sons, Madog 
and Ithel, of the Rhiryd ap Bleddyn who had fallen in 1088 in 
battle with Rhys ap Tewdwr. It was no light task to check 
the warring ambitions of this group of kinsmen, and Cadwgan's 
failure to achieve it brought its certain penalty with it in loss 
of territory and finally of life itself The first disturber of the 
peace was Cadwgan's own son Owain, whose bold and romantic 
abduction of Nest in 1 109 was an act of reckless defiance to the 
English king ; fascinating as is this story of passion and daring, 
which breathes the spirit of the early heroic age, and which 

"The Bruts {Bruts, 302; B.T. 138-40; B. Saes. s.a. 1113 (= 1116) in 
Myv. Arch. II. 552 (674)) have a list of the sons of Cadwgan. Besides Owain, 
whose mother is not named (the " Iweryd verch Edwin " of B. Saes. is clearly a 
misunderstanding of a passage about Uchtryd ab Edwin given fully by B.T,), they 
were: (i) Madog, by Gwenllian, daughter of Gruffydd ap Cynan. This connec- 
tion is conhrmed by Buck. Gr. ap C. 120 (731), where Cadwgan is described in 
1098 as Gruffydd's son-in-law (" ei ddaw "), but the Gwenllian intended is not the 
daughter of Angharad who bore that name {ibid. 118 (730)), since Angharad, 
who died in 1162 (Bruts), cannot have had a marriageable daughter at this time, 
and indeed had only just been married to Gruffydd. This Gwenllian was prob- 
ably illegitimate and born about 1080. (2) Einon (d. 1123), by Sanan, daughter 
of Dyfnwal. (3) Morgan (d. 1128), by Ellyw, daughter of Cydifor ap Gollwyn. 
(4) Henry, and (5) Gruffydd by a daughter of Picot of Sai. (6) Maredudd (d. 1124), 
by Euron, daughter of Hoedlyw ap Cadwgan ab Elstan. 


CHAP. Homer might well have told, its other aspect is not to be 
forgotten, as a reckless escapade which was fraught with mis- 
fortune for Owain's father and for his fellow-countrymen of 
Powys. At a great feast which Cadwgan gave this year in one 
of the courts of his land of Ceredigion,^^ Owain heard much of 
the beauty of Nest, the wife of Gerald of Pembroke, and, as the 
lady was his own second cousin, he resolved to pay a visit to 
the castle of Cenarth Bychan,^^ where she was at the time in 
residence with her husband, and see with his own eyes the 
graces of form and feature which were the occasion of so much 
eloquence. He found them not a whit less marvellous than 
they were reported, and left the castle with the determination, 
in spite of all laws and regardless of risk, to become possessor 
of the fair one who has been not inaptly styled the " Helen 
of Wales ". One dark night he and some fifteen companions 
stealthily worked their way into the stronghold by burrowing 
under the threshold of the gate ; directly they were within the 
wall they rushed with wild cries upon the sleeping inmates and 
added to the alarm and confusion by setting fire to the buildings. 
By the advice of his wife, Gerald attempted no resistance, but 
made a hurried escape through a garderobe ; thus the raiders 
found their task an easy one, and, having burnt and dismantled 
the castle, Owain carried off Nest and her children to Cere- 
digion. The story suggests that the heroine did not play an 
altogether unwilling part in the affair ; at any rate, she did not 
disdain afterwards to use her influence over her lover to bring 
about the return of Gerald's children to their father's roof 
None the less, the outrage was a challenge to the king, of 
which Henry did not fail to take prompt notice. 

^^ It may well have been Aber Teifi, but the author of Gw. Brut {s.a. 1107), 
followed by Laws {Lit. Etig. p. 108), is only guessing when he says so, and 
guessing still more rashly when he makes the feast the occasion of a great 
Eisteddfod. Powel (122) says the place was in Dyfed (Amroth, ace. to Lewis, 
Top. Diet. S.V.), but there is no evidence that Cadwgan had any land in this 

•^* The situation of Cenarth Bychan is still an unsolved problem, owing to 
the fact that the name ceased to be used soon after this event, and that no clue is 
to be found to its successor. Pembroke itself (B. Sues. s.a. 1105 ; Powel, 122), 
Carew {Lit. Eng. p. 105) and Cilgerran (Ann. C. MS. C.) have been suggested. 
Cenarth Bychan must in any case have been so called by contrast with Cenarth 
Mawr on the Teifi, and this seems to me to favour Cilgerran, which is in the 
same neighbourhood and upon the same river. It lies close to Ceredigion — a 
point of some weight in the argument — and is found at a later date in the 
possession of Gerald's descendants. 



It was to no purpose that Cadwgan, fully alive to the danger CHAP, 
of the situation, sought to induce his son to abandon his un- 
lawful prize. In his infatuation Owain was blind, and soon the 
blow fell. Bishop Richard turned to another branch of the 
family of Powys, to Ithel and Madog ap Rhiryd, and promised 
them a large increase of territory if, with Llywarch ap 
Trahaearn of Arwystli and Uchtryd ab Edwin of Meirionydd, 
they would undertake a I crusade against Cadwgan and his guilty 
son. The result was an invasion of Ceredigion which scattered 
its terrified folk in all directions ; some fled south to Dyfed and 
barely escaped the vengeance of Gerald, others found shelter in 
Ystrad Tywi and in Meirionydd, others met their death in 
battle with the men of Maelienydd. Even the churchmen of 
Llanbadarn and of Llanddewi Brefi learnt that the sanctity of 
their ancient fanes was poor protection against robbery and 
outrage. Owain and Cadwgan found a hiding-place from the 
storm in an Irish merchant- vessel which was anchored in the 
estuary of the Dovey and at the first opportunity Owain made 
his escape across the channel to the hospitable court of King 
Murkertagh, while Cadwgan, having no sins of his own for 
which to make amends, in a short while made his peace with 
the crown and was allowed to settle in the border vill which he 
had received as the dowry of his Norman wife, the daughter of 
Picot of Sai. In Powys, Madog and Ithel obtained Cadwgan's 
lands in return for the aid which they had given to the king. 

Fortune, however, gave Cadwgan one more opportunity. 
The new rulers of Southern Powys were turbulent and quarrel- 
some, and Henry, having no desire to add to their scope for 
mischief, restored Ceredigion to its former lord, who com- 
pounded for the misdemeanours of his house by the payment 
of a fine of ;!f 100 and by a promise to have no dealings in 
future with the exiled Owain. The bargain was no sooner 
made by him than it was put in jeopardy by the return of his 
son, but as he came to Powys, and not to his father's territory, 
Cadwgan was not at first affected. It was to Madog ap Rhiryd 
that Owain joined himself, and, as that prince had already in- 
curred by other acts the hostility of Bishop Richard, the first 
result was the release in mo of lorwerth ap Bleddyn, after 
seven years' captivity, in the hope that he might prove a 
better ruler than the other members of his dynasty. lorwerth 


^^AP. so far justified the royal choice as, first, to appeal to Owain and 
Madog to desist from the border forays they undertook for 
their private benefit, and then, when this produced no effect, 
forcibly to drive them from his realm. Owain was now thrown 
back upon Ceredigion, and he did not hesitate to cast aside his 
father's interests once again, making the land a basis for in- 
cursions into Dyfed and^ carrying thither the luckless captives 
whom he forthwith shipped as slaves for the Irish market. It 
was not long ere Owain's excesses reached a climax in the 
slaughter on the highway of a distinguished member of the 
Flemish colony, one William of Brabant."" Henry was now 
convinced that Cadwgan was incapable of keeping his son in 
check ; he took Ceredigion from him and bestowed it upon 
Gilbert fitz Richard, whose family held it until the close of the 
reign. A daily allowance of twenty-four pence was assigned to 
Cadwgan, to enable him to live in England, but no land was 
given him, until he obtained in the following year his third and 
last chance of proving his capacity for rule. As for Owain, he 
deemed it wise again to seek refuge in Ireland. 

lorwerth had but a brief career as prince of Powys. The 
outlaw Madog contrived, after a short sojourn among the 
Irish, whose manners, we are drily informed, he found wanting 
in humanity, •'^ again to secure a foothold in the territory of 
his uncle, who vainly strove to shake himself free from the 
compromising connection. The severity of lorwerth hardened 
Madog's heart against him, and he resolved to achieve his 
freedom by a deed of blood. Besetting lorwerth in 1 1 1 1 in 
the house in which he was staying in the commote of Caereinion, 
he scattered the prince's bodyguard in flight and drove him back 
at the spear's point into the flames of the burning building. 
This murder was soon followed by another. The removal of 
lorwerth again raised the problem, which the government found 
so perplexing, of the arrangements to be made for the rule of 
Powys, and no better solution presented itself than the rein- 
statement of Cadwgan and the pardon of Owain. Accordingly, 
Cadwgan was installed in the valley of the Severn, and it was 
signified to him that he might recall his son. But he had 

""JS. Saes. (s.a. 1107) has " primas o flandrys " — a form which obviously 
comes from the original Latin text. 

61 " Heb allel godef andynolyon voesseu y gwydyl " (Bruts, 289). 


scarcely tasted the joys of recovered power and dominion ere CHAP, 
he was struck down by Madog, into whose clutches he had 
foolishly allowed himself to fall, at Trallwng Llywelyn, the 
modern Welshpool,^'-^ where he closed ingloriously his chequered 
and stormy career. 

Bishop Richard was cynically indifferent to the crimes of 
Welshmen against each other, and thus Madog profited by his 
deeds of treachery so fari as to obtain a portion of Powys, which 
is described as including Caereinion, a third of the commote of 
Deuddwr, and the tref of Aberriw.'''^ To the rest Owain suc- 
ceeded, returning from his second exile in Ireland to wield an 
authority which was not impaired until his death in 1 1 16. He 
was more successful as an independent prince than while sub- 
ject to his father's tutelage. He appears to have taken his 
uncle Maredudd into his service as " penteulu," or captain of the 
guard, *^* and Maredudd in return, while engaged in 1 1 1 3 upon 
one of the usual raids upon Arwystli, laid hands upon Madog and 
sent him in chains to Owain, who, after the barbarous manner 
of the age, avenged his father's death by blinding him. In 
1 1 1 4 his power was put to the severe and unusual test of a 
royal invasion of the country. Henry's Welsh campaign of 
that year ^^ — the first of his reign — was directed not merely 
against Gruffydd ap Cynan, though it will be seen in a later 
chapter that its chief object was to limit the Venedotian power, 
but also against Owain of Powys and his uncle Maredudd, who 
now held Caereinion.^** Owain was, obliged to retreat with his 
people and their movable goods into the fastnesses of Gwynedd, 
having no safe hiding-place in his own land, but, when Gruffydd 
came to terms with the king and so put an end to farther re- 
sistance, he had no difficulty also in winning the royal favour. 
His Llanbadarn admirer and panegyrist treats it as a high 

8^ See chap. viii. note iii. 

^^Bruts, 292; B.T. 112. B. Saes. is in agreement. 

••^This affords the most natural explanation of Maredudd's action in 11 13, 
as described in B.T. s.a. mo. For the position of the "penteulu" see p. 316 

®'The expedition is mentioned in A.S. Chr., Fl. Wig. and Hen. Hunt., and 
supplies a fixed point in chronology. The dating of Ann. C. MS. B. is hence- 
forth correct to the end of the reign, while B. Saes. (followed by Ab Ithel in B.T.) 
continues to be three years in arrear until 1132. 

**B.r. 139. The Red Book text has, incorrectly, " Kereinawc " {Bruts, 

VOL. II. 5 


CHAP, compliment that Henry took the prince of Powys with him 
^^^* when he crossed over to Normandy in September, but one may 
be permitted to see also in the step a measure of precaution. 
Be this as it may, Owain received the honour of knighthood 
and returned to his dominions when the king came back to 
England in July, 1115. He met his death in the following 
year in the king's service. The rising of Gruffydd ap Rhys 
had thrown Deheubarth into a ferment, and the king resolved 
to make use, not only of the Norman garrison of the district, 
but also of the jealousy and rivalry of other Welshmen to crush 
a claimant who threatened to be a serious danger. Owain ap 
Cadwgan and Llywarch of Arwystli were induced to bring 
their forces into the field, and in the midst of the operation the 
former came suddenly into the grasp of the man he had so 
sorely wronged, namely, Gerald, the Constable of Pembroke. 
They were fighting on the same side, and Owain was retiring 
in leisurely fashion with but ninety men to defend him and the 
booty with which he was laden, when at Ystrad Rwnws, near 
the confluence of the Towy and the Cothi,®'^ he was overtaken 
and beset by a great company of Flemings, whose hostile pur- 
pose was not to be mistaken. The unsleeping vengeance of 
Gerald at last attained its end and his archers laid Owain low. 
The death of Owain, whom Florence of Worcester dignifies 
with the title of " King of the Welsh," ^'^ may be regarded as 
closing the period of the supremacy of Powys. No other figure 
stands out, among the posterity of Bleddyn in this age, with 
the same air of distinction and power. His possessions were 
divided among his brothers, Einion, Morgan, and Maredudd, 
and Powys was thus greatly weakened and exposed more than 
ever to the evils of intestine strife. The future rested with 
Maredudd ap Bleddyn, who until now had held but a poor posi- 
tion in the matter of territory, but who henceforward profits by his 
policy of waiting, as his younger rivals gradually quit the stage. 

*'' The Bruts do not indicate the scene of the encounter, though they suggest 
it was not far from Carmarthen. Ann. C. M3. C. has, however, " Owein a 
Flandrensibus in Estrat Brunus occiditur," and thus recalls the " lann teliau 
mainaur brunus " of Lib. Land. 254 (cf. 62, 125, 287), which was Llandeilo 
Rwnws (for Frwnws), an extinct chapel in the parish of Llanegwad (Rees, 
Welsh SS. pp. 247, 330), formerly standing near the bridge over the Towy at 
Dolybont (Spurrell, Carm. 96). The name Ystrad still survives in the immediate 

68 •< Owinus rex Walanorum occiditur" (s.a. 1116). 


III. South Wales under Henry I. chap. 

While the house of Bleddyn was working out its troublous 

destiny in Central Wales, the South was slowly but steadily 
being subjected to foreign rule. The conquests of the reign of 
Rufus were but the prelude to a thorough and systematic pro- 
cess of settlement and subjugation which went on throughout 
the reign of Henry and left South Wales at his death with 
scarcely a corner under the sway of a native prince. Except 
for the outburst of 11 16, there is nothing to show that this 
onward movement was contested ; under the firm and resolute 
guidance of Henry, it advanced with the calm and resistless 
might of an incoming tide. To fight it seemed almost as futile 
as to contend with a law of nature ; for the average denizen of 
the South, as for the chronicler of Llanbadarn, Henry was " the 
man with whom none may strive, save God Himself, who hath 
given him the dominion ".^'^ 

A general survey of the Norman colonies of this period will 
bring out clearly the extent to which they ultimately covered 
the ground, leaving hardly a single foothold for Welsh independ- 
ence. It is natural to begin with Pembroke. Here Gerald of 
Windsor was in authority for the greater part of the reign^ 
holding the castle for the king. The neighbouring fortress of 
Carew, or Caeriw, was apparently the family seat, for it was. 
from it they took their territorial name ; as the reign advances,, 
the sons of Gerald and Nest, William and Maurice, take their 
father's place as the defenders of Norman prestige. ^'^ Not far 
off was the castle of Manorbier, the home of Odo of Barry ; 
about 1 1 30 Odo was succeeded by his son William, who married 
Gerald's daughter Angharad and became the father of Giraldus 
Cambrensis.'^^ Whether or not it was held as an earldom by 

69 <i Y gwr nys dichawn neb ymoscryn ac ef eithyr duw e hun. y neb a rodes 
y medyant idaw " (Bruts, 298). 

""> Gerald is last mentioned in connection with the death of C^wain ap Cadw- 
gan in 1116. " Filii Geraldi " first appear in Ann. C. MS. B. s.a. 1136. " Odo 
de kerreu " (Gir. Camb. i. 26) was the son of William fitz Gerald ; from him 
issued the Carew family, for whom see Fenton (2), 138-9. The Welsh form of 
the name appears to be, not Caerau, but Caer Rhiw ; see Bruts, 374 (gaer riw) 
and 384 (idem). 

" Pipe Roll, 31 Hen. I. 137, shows that in 1130 " Willelmus filius Odonis de 
Barri " paid, through the sheriff of Pembroke, £<^ out of a sum of ;^io due from 
him "pro terra patris sui". Gir. recounts his parentage in the first sentences of 
•' De Rebus a Se Gestis" (Wks. i. 21). The family took its name firom Barry 
Island on the coast of Glamorgan. 



C^AP. Arnulf Montgomery, the whole region was certainly organised 
on the footing of a shire, of which 'one Hait was in 1130 
sheriff, accountable for dues which reached the respectable 
figure of £60?"^ Not only the ancient cantref of Penfro was 
included in his jurisdiction, but also those of Rhos and 
Deugleddyf,"^ which were about 1 108 converted into outworks 
of the royal stronghold at Pembroke by a remarkable piece of 
colonisation.^* Large numbers of Flemings, who were appar- 
ently already in the country, were transported by King Henry 
into this corner of Wales and established as possessors of the 
soil. They formed no military aristocracy, content to be 
maintained and served by the native population, so long as 
power and wealth were exclusively theirs, but were an indus- 
trious community of farmers, traders and woollen manufacturers, 
whose settlement involved as thorough a displacement of the 
ancient inhabitants as did the English conquest of South-eastern 
Britain. It was thus that Southern Dyfed lost its Welsh 
character ; the Welsh language ceased to be spoken there, and, 
English having gradually taken the place of Flemish, it became 
" Little England beyond Wales " ; nearly all the Welsh place- 
names disappeared, and the vills took their names from their 
new settlers, a Lambert, a Hubert and a Jordan, for instance, 
giving new titles to Lambston, Hubberston and Jordanston 

The principal castle of Rhos was at Haverford,^" at the 
head of the estuary of the Western Cleddau. During most of 

''^ Pipe Roll as above, 136-7. 

'^ Mention is made in the account of a " Godebertus Flandrensis de Ros," 
and it includes payments made by Walter fitz Wizo of Deugleddyf. 

'* For the Flemish settlement see Ann. Camb. s.a. 1107; B.T. and B. 
Saes. s.a. 1105 ; Fl. Wig. s.a. mi (the date 1108 is preferred in the text as that 
of the local chroniclers); Ord. Vit. xiii. 16; Gir. Camb. vi. 83-4 {Itin. i. 11) ; 
Cunningham, Growth of English Industry and Commerce, fourth edition (1905), 
i. p. 641 (Appendix E.). The importance of sheep and wool in the economy of the 
settlement is illustrated by Gir. Camb. i. 24-5 ; vi. 87-8. A marginal note in Cott. 
MS. Domitian i. fo. 145a (= Ann. Camb. MS. C), which may be assigned to the 
sixteenth century, says that the Flemings of the district were even then distin- 
guishable as " male Anglice loquentes ". 

" These are " Villa Lamberti," " Villa Huberti " and " Villa Jordahi " in 
Tax. Nich. 275, and it is interesting to observe that Pipe Roll, 31 Hen. I. men- 
tions among the men of the shire a " Hubertus," a" Lambertus Echeners" and a 
'• Jordanus filius Alwini ". 

'* Haverford became on Welsh lips successively Hawrffordd (" hawrfort " in 
"YCanu Bychan" in Myv. Arch. I. 303 (214)), Hawlffordd ("hawlfford" in 
Bruts, 359) and Hwlffordd. 


this reign, it was in the custody of a certain Tancard, who was CHAP, 
powerful throughout the cantref and who died not long before 
1 1 30, leaving several sons, none of whom, except the youngest, 
Richard, survived their father for more than a few years." 
Deugleddyf fell mainly into the hands of a Fleming named 
Wizo, who built the castle of Wiston, known to the Welsh as 
Castell Gwis, and was succeeded there by his son Walter.^^ 
According to tradition, the first Norman lord of the cantref of 
Cemais was one Martin of Tours,'^^ but there is nothing to show 
that the district was conquered in his time rather than in that 
of his son Robert fitz Martin, who is found in possession about 
1 1 1 5. It is not, indeed, very likely that this region, which was 
separated from Southern Dyfed by a range of mountains, was 
permanently occupied by the Normans before its flanks had 
been secured by the seizure of Ceredigion in mo and the 
succession of a Norman bishop at St. David's in 11 15. Its 
central stronghold was at Nanhyfer (or Nevern), where extensive 
earthworks are still to be seen on the hill above the venerable 
church of St. Brynach. Emlyn was probably seized about the 
same time by Gerald of Pembroke, whose heirs are found in 
possession of the lordship in the latter half of the century. The 
rock of Cilgerran, towering high above the wooded gorge of the 
Teifi, was the perch on which the lords of Emlyn fixed the keep 
designed by them to secure the humble obedience of their new 
subjects. ^° 

''"' Gir. Camb. vi. 85-7 (Itin. i. 11) gives some account of the family, which 
was connected by marriage with his own {Wks. i. 26). Tancard survived the 
monk Caradog, who died in 1124, but I suspect that he is the " Tanchelinus " 
whose son and land were in 1130 in custody in consequence of the father's death 
(Pipe Roll, 31 Hen. I. 137). 

''s In 1 130 " Walterus filius Witsonis '' was in possession of his father's lands, 
while " Aluredus filius Wihenoc " had married the widow of " Witsonis Fland- 
rensis " and obtained her dower (Pipe Roll as above, 136). That these lands lay 
in Deugleddyf is known from Cart. Glouc. i. 228, 264-6. " Castellum Wiz " 
{Ann. C. MS. B. s.a. 1148; B.T. has " castell gwiss " — see Bruts, 314) is first 
mentioned by that name in 1147. 

''^ Camden, Britannia, 583 ; Owen, Pemb.i. 437. Martin of Tours appears 
to have succeeded to the Devonshire manors of William of Falaise, as entered in 
Domesd. i. ma {cf. Owen, Pcnib. i. 430-2), but there is nothing which clearly 
connects him with Cemais. His foundation of St. Dogmael's rests only on the 
authority of Thomas Lloyd, precentor of St. David's from 1534 to 1547 (Mon. 
Angl. iv. 129), and there is no hint of it in the early charters of the monastery. 

8" If Cilgerran was the site of the castle of Cenarth Bychan, it may be sup- 
posed that it was not reoccupied for some years after the attack of 1109, and 
hence, it may be, the change of name. 


CHAP. The tale has already been told of the transference of 


Ceredigion from the weak hands of Cadwgan to the masterful 
control of Gilbert fitz Richard. The new ruler came of a not- 
able Norman family ; his grandfather, Count Gilbert of Brionne, 
had played a conspicuous part in the civil wars which raged 
during William the Conqueror's minority ; his father, Richard 
of Bienfaite, had joined in the invasion of England and after- 
wards received many favours from the king. Among them 
had been the gift of the manor of Clare in Suffolk, and thus 
arose a family name which during many centuries was famous 
alike in England and in Wales. Gilbert succeeded to the 
English estates of his father about 1090, but his career was 
undistinguished until Henry gave him his opportunity in 1 1 10.®^ 
He forthwith took possession of the whole of the four cantrefs 
and built two castles to secure his prize, " the one," as the 
local annalist tells us, " over against Llanbadarn, near the 
mouth of the river called the Ystwyth, and the other near the 
mouth of the Teifi, at the spot known as Din Geraint, where 
Earl Roger had formerly placed a castle ".^^ The latter, it has 
been shown at the beginning of this chapter,^^ was the castle of 
Cardigan, posted on a little hill which commanded the tidal 
reach of the Teifi just where it was crossed by the bridge giving 
access to Cemais and the south. ^* The former was the first 
castle of Aberystwyth, but its site was clearly not that of the 
existing ruin, nor was it within the limits or in the outskirts of 
the town, which, though it has long been known by the name 
of Aberystwyth, is much more fitly described as Aberheidol. 
It can be inferred with certainty from the minute account of 
the attack upon it in 1 1 16 given in the pages of the Llanbadarn 
chronicler that the original fortress of Aberystwyth crowned 
the slight eminence at the back of the farm of Tanycastell, 
which lies in the Ystwyth valley a mile and a half to the south 
of the town.^^ Aberystwyth and Cardigan were, however, far 

81 For the Clare family see Diet. Nat. Biog. x. p. 375 (articles by J, H. Round) 
Feudal England, pp. 472, 574-5. 

82 B.T. 104 ; Bruts, 289. 83 Note 2. 

8* The bridge was already in existence in 1136 (Cont. Fl. Wig. s.a.). 

^^ B.T. describes the castle as on a hill which sloped to the river Ystwyth 
and which faced Ystrad Antarron (Bruts, 299). The Tanycastell height exactly 
fulfils these conditions ; there is the further evidence of the name and of the 
earthworks still visible on the summit. 


from being the only strong places erected in the district to CHAP, 
ensure its thorough subjugation. Gilbert brought with him 
many followers, for whom he provided dependent lordships ; 
thus at the end of the reign Walter de Bee had a castle in 
Geneu'r Glyn, near the church of Llanfihangel,^^ Richard de la 
Mare had another in the centre of the county, a certain Humph- 
rey was established in the valley of the Cletwr,"''^ and a certain 
Stephen had a fortress which may perhaps be connected with 
the bridge over the Teifi at Lampeter known as Pont Stephan.^*^ 
Peithyll, Ystrad Meurig, Blaen Forth were also fortified places 
during this period ; to no quarter of Wales did the title of " a 
land of castles " more truly appertain than to Ceredigion during 
the quarter of a century which followed its conquest by Gilbert. 
On the death of the first Norman lord in 1117,^^ it passed 
without question to his eldest son, Richard fitz Gilbert, and 
nothing seemed wanting to make it as Norman as Penfro or 

In the valley of the Towy the castle of Rhydygors and the 
claims of Richard fitz Baldwin disappear together in the year 
1 1 06, and, when light is next thrown upon the affairs of the 
district, in the year 1 1 09, the local fortress is Carmarthen, and 
a representative of the king, Walter, the sheriff of Gloucester, 
is busying himself there in the royal interest.®" The new 

^'^ Ann. Camb. MS. B. s.a. 1136 mentions "castello Walter! de Bek . . . et 
castello Ricardi de la Mare ". The situation of the former is indicated by the 
alternative name of Llanfihangel Castell Gvvallter for Llanfihangel Geneu'r Glyn 
(Carlisle); that' of the latter is uncertain, but it seems to have stood between 
Aberystwyth and Caerwedros, if one may judge from the narrative cited above. 
" Walterus de Beco" (who is confused by Powel (p. 138) with Walter Espec, the 
founder of Rivaux Abbey) appears in Pipe Roll, 31 Hen. 1. 102 (Bucks) ; according 
to Lib. Nig. 221, he was a tenant (" Walterus del Bee") of Earl Ferrers in this 

8'' " Castellum hunfredi " (Ann. Camb. MS. B. s.a. 1137) was in 1151 rebuilt 
by Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd and thus acquired its more familiar name ot 
Castell Hywel (B.T. 180). 

*^ " Castellum Stephani " [Ann. Camb. ut supra) is not likely to have been 
Llanstephan, which is always described in the chronicles by that name (= St. 
Stephen's). The guess in Gw. Brut, s.a. 1137, may for once be right, though the 
connection with King Stephen is, of course, imaginary. 

«Mmm. C. s.a. B.T. (MSS. B. and C.) and B. Saes. {s.a. 1114) say he died 
of a lingering complaint. 

*""' Ef adamweinawd dyuot Gwallter ucheluaer kaer loyw y gwr a orchymy- 
nassei y brenhin idaw llywodraeth (kaer loyw) ac amddiffyn lloeger hyt yg kaer 
vyrdin " (Bruts, 283 ; B.T. 88). B. Saes. calls him " escob caer loyw," and other- 
wise mangles the passage. For the position and history of Walter see Feudal 
England, p. 313 ; Round, Anc. Charters, pp. 4, 18, 19-20; Cal. Doc. Fr. 167. 


CHAP, stronorhold was not built within the walls of the Roman fort, 
where stood the church of Llandeulyddog,^^ but on a height 
close by, which looked down upon the waterway of the Towy, 
here affording easy access to the sea for vessels of light 
burthen.®'' Henceforward, Carmarthen is always a royal fort- 
ress, and in 1130 it is disclosed by the one Exchequer record 
of the reign which has survived as an important, administrative 
centre, where a considerable revenue was collected for the 
crown. Thus Alfred son of Anschetil is returned as owing ;^3 
for his father's lands, which were in the neighbourhood of 
Llangain ; ®^ the men of Cantref Mawr owe a fine of forty 
shillings for the slaughter of a vassal of Bishop Roger of 
Salisbury ; ^* Bleddyn of Mabudryd, the country around Pen- 
cader, with his brothers, is mulcted in seven silver marks for 
the abduction of the daughter of Bledri.®^ This Bledri, in full 
Bledri ap Cydifor,®" appears to have played the difficult part 
of intermediary between the two races ; while he figures, as 
" Bleheric the Welshman," among the knights of the " honour " 
of Carmarthen,®^ he is elsewhere styled Blederic Latimer, or 
the Interpreter, as though it were his special duty to convey 
the royal commands to his fellow-countrymen.®^ His lands lay 

'* See chapter viii. note 218. " Veterem civitatem de kermerdyn " was held 
by the priory (Carm. Cart. p. 28). 

^* There is no evidence of the existence of a bridge at Carmarthen in the 
early Middle Ages. Giraldus crossed the ferry at Llanstephan (vi. 80 — " tran- 
seuntes . . . navigio") and the bridge ol 1233 was a temporary one, set up to 
block the waterway. 

*3"Alur. filius Anschet. Driue debet Ix. s. pro terra patris sui " (Pipe Roll, 
31 Hen. I. 90). Cf. No. 34 in Carm. Cart. p. 10, in which " Alfredus Drue" 
gives to Carmarthen priory the chapel of St. " Keyn " (" Egluyskeyne " in No. 78 
on p. 28) " que est in feudo meo," with land in the vicinity. 

"^ " Homines de Cat (for CdJitre) maur debent xl. s. pro homine Episcopi 
saresburiensis quern occiderunt " (Pipe Roil 90). The bishop was lord of 
Kidwelly, which at Abergwili was only separated from Cantref Mawr by the 

^' " Blehien de Mabuderi et fratres sui debent vii m. argenti pro filia Bieheri 
quam vi rapuerunt " (Pipe Roll go). 

88 "Bledri uab Kediuor" had charge in 1116 of a Norman castle near Car- 
marthen (Bruts, 297 ; B.T. 126). There is no evidence to show that he was the 
son of Cydifor ap Gollwyn, the Demetian magnate who died in 1091. 

97 Pipe Roll 8g. 

** No. 33 in Carm. Cart. (p. 10) is a confirmation by Henry I. of the gift to 
Carmarthen priory of four carucates in " Eglusnewit " by " Bledericus Latemeni " 
(" Latem^ri " in No. 78). The attestations show that the document belongs to 


in the neighbourhood of Newchurch, a little to the north of the CHAP, 
town. ■^"• 

The reference above to Cantref Mawr may suggest, what 
was certainly the case, that it enjoyed during this period a 
greater amount of freedom than any other portion of South 
Wales. Its wooded glens and solitary moorlands alone gave 
scope under Henry's iron sway for the development in the 
region south of the Dovey of a life moulded in accordance with 
Welsh ideals. But even here the hand of the monarch was 
visible in the partition of authority between several chieftains. 
No one Welsh prince was allowed to tower above his fellows 
even on the narrow stage of Cantref Mawr ; Rhydderch ap 
Tewdwr, a brother of the late king of Deheubarth, was allowed 
to hold a certain extent of land, but he was kept in check by 
one Owain ap Caradog, a member of another house, to whom 
Henry gave a portion of the Cantref ^^ In Cantref Bychan, 
on the other side of the river, Norman supremacy was un- 
disguised ; Richard fitz Pons, who had important interests 
in Brecknock, had crossed the mountains and received from 
the king the investiture of the district. This was before 11 16, 
in which year mention is made of Richard's castle, which stood 
near the meeting ground of many streams, not far from the 
church of St. Dingad, and hence acquired its name of Llan- 
amddyfri (now Llandovery), " the church amid the waters ".^^'^ 
The settlement of Cantref Bychan was not as complete, how- 
ever, as that of Southern Dyfed and Ceredigion, for Richard is 
not known to have had any other castle in it, and he committed 
even this to the custody of a local chief, Maredudd ap Rhy- 
dderch ap Caradog. After the death of Hywel ap Gronw in 
1 106, the commote of Cydweli was bestowed by the king upon 
his trusty and powerful minister, Bishop Roger of Salisbury, 
justiciar of the realm, who built at the spot where the Lesser 
Gwendraeth falls into the sea a castle which guarded the road 
to Carmarthen. Around it soon sprang up the borough of 

^^Bntts, 296; B.T. 125. 

^"o For Richard fitz Pons see Round, Anc. Charters, p. 24. The evidence 
for his tenure of Cantref Bychan will be found ibid. 8,21; Afon. Angl. iii. 448 
(grant of church to Great Malvern Priory); Bruts, 296 (rickert pwnswn) ; B.T. 
123 ; B. Saes. s.a. 1113=1116 (Ricard vab Pvnson). Llanamddyfri, as in Ann. C, 
appears to be the original form, in which case " amddyfri " is to be taken as a 
variant of " amddyfrwys " — see Evans, Diet. s.v. 


CHAP. Kidwelly, with Norman, English and Flemish butchers, who 
before 1 1 1 5 had their own parish church of St. Mary's.^^^ The 
bishop did not hold the commote until his death, for towards 
the end of the reign the lordship was transferred to Maurice 
of London, whose family had been for some time settled at 
Ogmore in Glamorgan.^**'- Gower had also been vested in 
Hywel ap Gronw, and, upon his death, had been granted by 
Henry, like Cydweli, to a man in whom he had the fullest 
confidence, namely. Earl Henry of Warwick, his friend and 
companion, who fixed the centre of the lordship at the mouth 
of the Tawe and thus became the founder of Swansea.^^'* 
Through the influx of English settlers the southern or peninsular 
half of the commote soon lost its Welsh features as thoroughly 
as Penfro and Rhos, and the distinction was set up, which has 
lasted to our own day, between Welsh and English Gower. 
Henry died in 1119^''* and was succeeded in his earldom and 
in the lordship of Gower by his son Roger. 

It was not by arms alone, or the development of trade and 
industry, that the conquerors of Deheubarth secured their hold 
of the country which had fallen into their grasp. They called 
religion to their aid. The devotion of the Normans as a race 
to the interests of the Church, and their high respect for the 
monastic or " religious " life, is one of the most familiar features 
of their history, attested by a thousand acts of obsequious ser- 
vice. In Wales, it is true, they paid scant regard to the ecclesi- 
astical foundations they found in possession, but from the first 
they followed the policy of making large grants from their con- 
quered territories to houses of religion in England and in 
France, and this led in many cases to the establishment in 

^"1 Mon. Angl. iv. 64-5. Cf. the mention of" homine episcopi saresburiensis " 
in connection with Cantref Mawr in Pipe Roll, 31 Hen. I. 90. The date is based 
upon the mention of Bishop Wilffre, who died in 1115 ; the grant was also made 
while Turstin was still prior of Sherborne and before his consecration as abbot in 

1 122. 

^"^Mon. Angl. iv. 65 suggests that Bishop Roger was followed by a Richard 
fitz William and that Maurice of London came next, at the very end of Henry's 
reign. There is nothing to connect William of London, Maurice's father, who 
died before 1126 (see Lib. Land. 29), with Kidwelly. 

103 The Bruts [Bruts, 296 ; " aber tawy . . . bioed iarll aelwit henri bemwnd " ; 
B.T. 123 ; B. Sues. s.a. 11 13 = 11 16) are supported by Cal. Doc. Fr. i. 106. 

^"^Ann. Wint. The date usually given, viz., 20th June, 1123 [Diet. Nat. 
Biog. xl. p. 317), is inconsistent with the fact that Roger witnesses as Earl of War- 
wick a charter belonging to the early part of 1123 (Feudal England, pp. 482-4). 



Wales of " cells " or subordinate houses, under the rule of a CHAP 

prior, for the management of the property and the collection of 

its revenues. The cell was invariably placed under the shadow 
of a castle and, as the native element found no footing in it, it 
became an integral part of the Norman garrison, to the spiritual 
needs of which it ministered and with the fortunes of which it 
rose and fell. Monasteries of this type were to be found at 
the close of Henry's reign at Pembroke, St. Dogmael's, Carmar- 
then, Kidwelly, Llangenydd and Llanbadarn Fawr. The priory 
of Pembroke was founded by Arnulf Montgomery in 1098, 
when he gave to the abbey of St. Martin at Sees, established 
by his father, the church of St. Nicholas hard by his castle and 
a liberal provision of land.^"^ This monastic settlement on the 
southern bank of the little stream which skirts the castle ac- 
quired the name of Monkton, and its church became the mother 
church of St. Mary's and St. Michael's within the walls of Pem- 
broke town.^"^ The nucleus of the abbey of St. Dogmael's 
was furnished by the ancient church of Llandudoch near the 
outlet of the Teifi. Though its real protector was the castle of 
Cardigan, it lay in the lordship of Cemais, and it owed its ex- 
istence to Robert fitz Martin, who first gave the church, about 
I II 5, to the new abbey of St. Saviour of Tiron, a reformed 
Benedictine house, and encouraged a few monks to settle there 
under a prior. In a few years he formed a larger design, pro- 
vided a much ampler endowment, and persuaded the abbot of 
Tiron to raise the house to the dignity of an abbey. The first 
abbot, Fulchard, was installed not long after 1120.^^" At Car- 
marthen the first Norman foundation was a cell of Battle Abbey 
in Sussex, the great monastery reared by the Conqueror to 
commemorate his victory at Hastings. Henry I. gave his 
father's abbey the church of Llandeulyddog, with its venerable 
associations, the new church of St. Peter which had been built 
not far off, and land for the maintenance of a few monks. 

looil/ow. Angl. vi. 999; Cal. Doc. Fr. i. 237-9. The statement that the 
church was within the castle (" in eodem castro positam ") has caused some diffi- 
culty, but it is simpler to suppose an inaccuracy in the charter than to assume 
that Arnulf 's castle was at Monkton and embraced the church. 

i»« Welsh SS. p. 349. 

^°^The earliest charters of St. Dogmael's are those contained in the cartulary 
of the mother abbey of Tiron (Eure et Loir — see Cal. Doc. Fr. i. 352-4). After 
these, which belong to 1116-1120, comes that printed in Mon. Angl. iv. 130 (in an 
" inspeximus "), which may be assigned to the autumn of 1121. 


CHAP. Thus matters stood when Bishop Bernard of St. David's, desir- 
ing to establish at Carmarthen a house of Augustinian canons, 
cast jealous eyes upon the possessions of Battle, and, after much 
negotiation, induced the monks in 1125 to abandon their 
claims and dissolve the cell in return for compensation else- 
where offered to them by the king. The priory thus became 
a convent of black canons and was enriched by gifts from Bern- 
ard, Bledri ap Cydifor, and other dwellers within the sphere 
of Norman influence in this region.^*^^ Kidwelly Priory was 
founded before 1 1 1 5 by the builder of Kidwelly Castle, Bishop 
Roger of Salisbury, who made it a cell of Sherborne, a house 
for which he had a special affection as a former seat of the 
bishopric which he held. In this case, no existing church was 
chosen as the site of the monastery, probably because none 
was sufficiently near the castle, but a new church was con- 
secrated, which served, as has already been indicated, for the 
needs of the burgesses.^"® Llangenydd Priory owed its origin to 
Earl Henry of Warwick, who gave the church, one of the older 
sanctuaries of Gower, to the abbey of St. Taurin at Euveux ; ^^^ 
it was a little cell and never attained to any importance. It re- 
mains to speak of the cell of St. Peter's, Gloucester, formed by 
Gilbert fitz Richard at Llanbadam Fawr. Owing to the recon- 
quest of Ceredigion by the Welsh on the death of Henry I., its 
history soon comes to an end, but the evidence for its existence 
is clear and the monks of Gloucester lost no opportunity of 
reiterating their claim to hold this church and its extensive 
domains. The priory was probably founded in iii6or 1117 
and entered upon all the rights of the ancient " clas," including 
the lordship of the manor of " Y Faenor " between the Clarach 
and the Rheidol and the tithes of all Penweddig.^^^ There 

i*** The early history of Carmarthen Priory is told in the Chronicle of Battle 
Abbey {Chronicon de Bello, 1846, pp. 55-6, 61-2), where it is said that the king 
gave Battle " quandam ecclesiam in honorem Sancti Petri apostoli fundatam apud 
Walliam in civitate quae Chaermerdi dicitur " and also " aliam ecclesiam anli- 
quissimis temporibus in honore sancti Theodori martiris (a bold endeavour to 
make respectable the unknown and uncouth Teulyddog !) ibidem fundatam ". A 
document printed in Round, Anc. Charters, p. 27, throws further light upon the 
withdrawal of Battle. The cartulary of the priory was privately printed from a 
seventeenth-century transcript (Hengwert MS. 440) in 1865 by Sir Thomas 
Phillips ; it contains grants by Bernard (No. 26) and Alfred Drue (No. 34), and a 
confirmation by Henry I. of the grant of Bledri (No. 33). 

1*® See note loi above. i" Cal. Doc. Fr. i. 106. 

'" The documents bearing on the history of this cell are in Cart. Glouc. ii. 
73-9. Cf. Gir. Camb. vi. 121 (liin, ii. 4). Cart. Glouc. i. 106 (i.e., the " historia " 


must have been some disturbance of the clergy of the old order, CHAP, 
and it is not without significance in this connection that the full 
Llanbadarn narrative embodied in " Brut y Tywysogion " does 
not extend beyond 1 1 1 6. 

By such means did Norman and Breton knights, English 
and Flemish traders, gradually secure a firm hold of Deheu- 
barth, as though never to be dislodged. Only once was there 
a serious rising against them, and this was due to the bold bid 
for power made in 1116 by Gruffydd ap Rhys. .The heir to 
the wide claims of Rhys ap Tewdwr had spent his childhood 
and early youth in exile in Ireland ; about 1 1 1 3 he returned, 
an ambitious young man, full of the restlessness of unsatisfied 
desire, to his native land of Deheubarth.^^" For some two 
years he lived a roving life, the guest at times of his brother- 
in-law, the castellan of Pembroke, and at others of his relatives 
in Cantref Mawr. The figure of the forlorn scion of an ancient 
race of kings, stripped of wealth and power and wandering 
from this to that hospitable roof-tree, touched the imagination 
of the men of South Wales, and Henry was warned that the 
homeless lad was beginning to be dangerous to his authority. 
Gruffydd did not wait to be seized by the king's officers, but, 
at the first suggestion of sinister designs, made off to Gwynedd, 
where he hoped for protection from the now powerful Gruffydd 
ap Cynan. But the northern prince had seen something in 
the previous year (i 1 14) of the might of the king of England, 
and was not in the mood to court a second invasion by 
harbouring a fugitive who lay under the weight of Henry's 
displeasure. He promised to surrender the youth and pro- 
ceeded to carry out the undertaking with little regard to the 
claims of patriotism or of hospitality. Gruffydd ap Rhys 
narrowly escaped capture, and, even when he had taken refuge 
with the " clas " of Aberdaron, was not much more secure, for 
the prince of Gwynedd, had he not been restrained by his 
counsellors, would have infringed the rights of sanctuary of the 
Church in order to prove his zeal in the royal service. 

dates the foundation of the priory in 11 11, the year after Gilbert's acquisition of 
Ceredigion, but the foundation charter in ii. 73-4 is witnessed by Bishop Bernard, 
and is, therefore, not earlier than September, H15. 

^^^Bruts, 294-6; B.T. and B. Sues. s.a. 1112 = 1115. On p. 118 of B.T. 
(third line from the bottom), MS. B. supplies the correct reading, viz., " ebryfygu" 
= to forget (Davies, Diet. s.v.). 


CHAP. From Aberdaron the youthful outlaw crossed Cardigan Bay 

to his former haunts "'n South Wales and resolved in his des- 
pair to run amuck among the Norman castles of the district, 
in the hope that out of the confusion of a general rising he 
might pluck some advantage for himself. In the spring of 
1 1 1 6 he made an onslaught on the castle of Narberth, which 
he destroyed ; next, he attacked Llandovery, which was stoutly 
defended for Richard fitz Pons by its Welsh castellan, Mare- 
dudd ap Rhydderch ap Caradog, so that only the outworks 
were taken, the keep remaining intact.^^^ The same partial 
success followed the siege of the Earl of Warwick's castle at 
Swansea, nor did Gruffydd reflect how little his cause was 
helped by victories which left his enemies unharmed in im- 
pregnable retreats. Nevertheless, he had done enough to 
arouse the enthusiasm of his countrymen ; crowds of young 
Welshmen gathered around him, and the authorities began to 
fear for the safety of Carmarthen. The plan was adopted of 
entrusting its defence to the neighbouring chiefs, who were out 
of sympathy with this ill-planned and ill-ordered revolt ; Mare- 
dudd of Cantref Bychan, Gruffydd's uncle, Rhydderch,^^* and 
Owain ap Caradog each undertook to keep the castle for a 
fortnight. It chanced that the dreaded attack was made 
during Owain's term of service and that Owain himself fell in 
seeking to repel it ; the result was that Gruffydd was able 
to set fire to the town and to carry 'off valuable booty to the 
woods. His prestige now rose higher than ever, and he soon 
found himself at the head of a very considerable force, which 
he forthwith led to the plunder of Ceredigion."® After some 
successes at Blaen Forth Hodnant,"*' which did not, however, 
include the taking of the castle, the host marched northwards 

i^^B.T. carefully distinguishes the " rac castell " or bailey from the " t^x " 
or keep. 

^1* Later in the year Rhydderch and his sons joined the movement and took 
part in the siege of Aberystwyth. 

^^i* B.T. and B. Sues, translate very differently here, but it is evident that 
in the original a protest against the invasion was uttered from the point of view 
of the prudent Welshmen still in undisturbed possession of Llanbadarn. That 
MS. B. of B.T. (p. 128) is right in reading "kyghor" and not '• kediuor," as in 
the Red Book text {Briits, 298, line 10) audits original, Mostyn MS. 116 (Evans, 
Rep. i. pp. 56, 59), is clear from the agreement of B. Saes. 

^^^ Now Blaen Forth simply. The river is called the Howni, for an older 
Hoddni (cf. " porth hodni," i.e., Aberporth, in Buck. Gr. ap C. 114 (729)), 
whence Hoddnant and Hodnant. Earthworks mark the site of the castle. 

to Penweddig and stormed the fortress which Razo, Gilbert's CHA.P. 


castellan at Aberystwyth, had built for himself in Ystrad 
Peithyll. They then addressed themselves to the capture of 
Aberystwyth itself. But the point had now been reached when 
the inherent weakness of the movement, the lack of generalship 
in its leader and of discipline among the rank and file, could 
no longer be masked under superficial triumphs. Gruffydd's 
negligence enabled Razo to draw reinforcements under cover of 
night from the neighbouring castle of Ystrad Meurig, and his 
irresolution wasted the best part of the day which he devoted 
to the siege. When, at last, the attack was delivered, there 
was confusion among the besieging troops, giving Razo an op- 
portunity he did not neglect of scattering the loosely knit lines 
of his opponents in unexpected flight. Gruffydd's army melted 
away and he found shelter once again in the impenetrable woods 
of the Great Cantref. 

The attempt of the king to use Owain ap Cadwgan and 
Llywarch ap Trahaearn for the overthrow of Gruffydd has been 
already mentioned.^^^ It was unsuccessful ; Owain was cut 
down in the midst of the expedition by his enemy Gerald and 
Llywarch then abandoned the enterprise and went home. 
Gruffydd's history during the rest of the reign cannot be 
traced in detail, but he is known to have so far broken down 
the king's hostility as to obtain from him a portion of Cantref 
Mawr. In 1127 he was obliged, as a result of the charges of 
his Norman neighbours, to seek refuge for a time in Ireland,^^^ 
but he would seem to have soon recovered his position. During 
the closing years of Henry's reign his home was the commote 
of Caeo,^^^ which occupied the upper valley of the river Cothi ; 
here he settled with his wife Gwenllian, daughter of Gruffydd 
ap Cynan, and here were born to them four sons, Maredudd, 
Rhys, Morgan and Maelgwn,^^" of whom the second lived long 
and gloriously, while the other three were cut off in their 

1" P. 422. "8^„„. C. s.a. ; B.T. and B. Saes. s.a. 1124. 

^18 Gir. Camb. i. 34 (Itin. i. 2). It may be added that " quartae partis " is. 
due to the erroneous idea that every cantref contained four commotes and that the 
editor, when he sets out here and in the index (p. 248) to correct the topography 
of his author, merely gives currency to a blunder which has crept into Pen. MS^ 
163 and texts derived from it. 

120 Cymr. viii. 88 (Jesus Coll. MS. 20, No. xxv.). 


CHAP. Our survey of the conquest of South Wales under Henry I. 

may fitly close with some account of those lordships on the 
eastern march which had been conquered once for all under 
Rufus, and during this reign were being consolidated and 
developed. All that is known of Radnor and Builth is that 
they continued to be held by Philip of Briouze until the close 
of the reign,^"^^ while of the intervening region no more can 
safely be said than that Hugh Mortimer, who succeeded his 
father Ralph at Wigmore about 1 104, appears to have acquired 
some hold upon the valleys of the Ithon and the Edw.^^^ But 
no such obscurity rests during this period upon the history of 
Brecknock, Glamorgan and Gwent, which are shown by con- 
temporary records, chiefly monastic charters, to have been 
parcelled out by their lords among a number of knights, who 
made haste to extract the full advantage of their position. 
Bernard of Neufmarch^ ruled Brycheiniog until about 1125.^^^ 
His principal castle was built where the Honddu falls into the 
Usk, at a spot known to the Welsh from its situation as Aber- 
honddu, but called by the English Brecon, from the lordship of 
which it was the centre. As in the lordships of West Wales, 
the military station became also a civic and a monastic centre ; 
before 11 06 Bernard had founded a borough at Brecon and 
had bestowed upon Battle Abbey the means of establishing 
a cell there.^^* The narrative of the foundation of the priory 
contained in the Chronicle of Battle will show how such an 
institution might grow.^^* A monk of Battle named Roger is 
first found staying with Bernard and obtains from him a grant 
of the church of St. John the Evangelist standing near the 
castle, and, for his maintenance, the site of the old Roman fort 
at the confluence of the Ysgir and the Usk, known as " Vetus 

1*^ There are four references to Philip in Pipe Roll, 31 Hen. I. (72, 103, 126, 
157). He lost his lands in mo, but recovered them in iri2 (A.S. Chr. MS. E.). 

^^''See the reference in B.T. s.a. 1143 (= 1144) to the r^conquest of Elfael 
and Maelienydd by Hugh, son of Ralph. 

^^ Bernard appears in the list of magnates of the diocese of Llandaff (which 
was held to include Ystrad Yw) addressed by Calixtus H. in 11 19 {Lib. Land. 
93), but in the corresponding list of 1128 his place is taken by Miles of Glou- 
cester {ibid. 37). 

1" See the " secunda (really the first) carta" of Bernard in the Brecon 
cartulary (^rcA. Camb. IV. xiv. (1883), 142-3), which gives " quinque burgenses ". 
The limit of date is fixed by the appearance among the witnesses of " Valdrici 
cancellarii " — see Feudal England, pp. 480-1. 

^^'^ Chronicon de Bello (= Cott. MS. Domitian ii.), ed. 1846, 34-5. 

villa " or " Yr Hen Gaer "^^^ With the help of a brother monk CHAP, 

named Walter, Roger rebuilds the church, provides suitable 

monastic quarters, and gathers in further endowments. The 
lady of Brecon, Agnes or Nest, daughter of Osbern fitz 
Richard, in gratitude for a recovery from sickness, gives the 
manor of Berrington, near Tenbury, which she had no doubt 
received from her father as a marriage gift.^'''^ Monks assemble 
at the spot and finally, with the consent of Bernard and the 
king, a cell of Battle is constituted, with Walter as its prior. 

From the roll of benefactions made to the priory ^^^ some 
information may be gleaned as to the principal vassals of the 
lord of Brecknock and the houses which drew their descent 
from them. The name of Picard is to be seen in the earliest 
of all the Brecon charters ; ^^^ his portion of the lordship was 
the commote of Ystrad Yw Uchaf,^^" and he made his home at 
Tretower, in the vale of the Rhiangoll, building in all likeli- 
hood the four-square stone keep of which the lower courses 
still remain, and which gave its name to the " hamlet of the 
tower ".^^^ Picards or Pichards dwelt here for many genera- 
tions, stout defenders of the English against the Welsh cause 
and generous patrons of the priory founded by their lord. 
Ystrad Yw Isaf would seem to have been allotted to Robert of 
Turbeville, whose stronghold was at Crughywel ; Turbevilles 
were here in authority until the reign of Henry HI.^^^ La 
Haie Taill6e, the " clipped hedge," a name which the Welsh 
rendered " Y Gelli Gandryll," ^^^ was the seat of another castle, 

126 ic Vetus villa " appears in the charters as " vastam civitatem que vocatur 
Carnois " {141) and " Chaer " (146) ; the latter passage gives bounds, which seem 
to be those of the township of Fenni Fach. 

12'' See chap. xi. note 135. 

128 The cartulary of Brecon Priory was printed by R. W. Banks in Arch. 
Camb. IV. xiii. (1882), 275-308, xiv. (1883), 18-49, 137-68, 221-36, 274-311, from 
a transcript made about 1710. In the notes following this it is cited as Cart. Brec. 
by reference to the page, vol. xiv. being understood when xiii. is not specified. 

i2» Cart. Brec. 143 (" Quidam ex meis hominibus nomine Picardus "). 

130 /6/d. 167-8, 221. 

131 Med. Mil. Arch. ii. 499-503; Breconsh. (2), p. 418. 

132 Robert " de Turbertuulla!" was not a donor to Brecon, but he appears as 
a principal tenant of Bernard's in 1121 (Round, Anc. Charters, p. 8; cf. p. 24). 
Jones appears to be right in maintaining that there is no historical evidence for 
the common statement that the Burghills preceded the Turbevilles at Crickhowel 
(Breconsh. (2), pp. 387-8). 

133 K Haia taillata " in Round, Anc. Charters, p. 8, clearly represents, as the 
editor points out, " la haie taill^e " (the article was long retained, though not the 

VOL. II. 6 


CHAP, which was held for Bernard by William Revel ; in this case the 


fief reverted ere long to the chief lord and became a part of his 

demesne.^^* Talgarth, the ancient capital of Br}''cheiniog, was 
retained by Bernard in his own hands. Between Brecon and 
Talgarth, Roger of Baskerville held land and handed on his 
name to several generations of descendants.^'^^ It is not cer- 
tain when the commote called " Cantref Selyf " ^^^ — it was but 
a part of the old cantref of that name ^^^ — came into the pos- 
session of the Clifford family, but about the middle of the 
twelfth century Walter, son of Richard fitz Pons, is in posses- 
sion of it and rules it from his castle of Bronllys overhanging 
the Llynfi.^^^ These were the knights who owed service to 
Bernard and who some ten years before the death of Henry 
saw a new lord take his place at Aberhonddu. By his wife 
Agnes, Bernard had a son Mahel and a daughter Sybil. But 
Mahel, after he had grown to manhood, had his inheritance 
snatched from him by what was believed to be the shameless 
perjury of his mother. Her anger having been stirred up 
against him by the vengeance he had taken upon a paramour 
of hers, she swore that he was himself the offspring of adultery 
and thus diverted the inheritance from him to his sister.^^® As 
Sybil was married in the spring of 1121 to one of the highly 
trusted ministers of the crown, namely, Miles of Gloucester, son 
of Walter the sheriff, this turn of affairs was not by any means 
disagreeable to the king, and he sanctioned an arrangement 
under which Miles was to come on his marriage into immedi- 
ate possession of a part of the lordship and to obtain the whole 
on Bernard's death.^**' Miles held Brycheiniog with a firm 
grip until his death, nor was it of much account that, accord- 
adjective — see Leland, Wales, pp. 10, 42, 104, 108, no, in). Walter Map's 
" Sepes Inscisa (for Incisa) " (Dc Nugis, 103) is an attempt at a more elegant 
translation. For Y Gelli Gandryll, see Breconsh. (2), p. 360. 

1*'' Round, Anc. Charters, p. 8, mentions " feodum . . . Willelmi reuelli " in 
II2I, and Cart. Brec. 48, of about the same date, shows it was Hay. 

135 Round, Anc, Charters, pp. 8, 24 ; Cart. Brec. 142 (for the situation of 
the Baskerville lands see 162-6). 

136 For the strange form " cymwd cantref Selyf " see Domitian viii. fo. 120a 
(com. Cantreselif) and Pen. MS. 147 (kwmwdkantre sely — Evans). 

137 Judging from Lib. Land. 134, the old cantref extended to the neighbour- 
hood of Llandeilo'r Fan. 

i38Afo«. Atigl, V. 555, No. vii. (Charters of Dore Abbey.) 

139 Gir. Camb. (vi. 29 — Itin. i. 2) is the authority for this story. 

^^' See the king's charter in Round, Anc. Charters, pp. 8-9. 



ing to the well-known story told by Giraldus Canibrensis, the CHAP, 
birds of Llangors lake would not tune their merry notes in 
recognition of his dominion, while they instantly obeyed the 
call of their true lord, Gruffydd ap Rhys.^" It was the iron 
age, with no ear for the voice of sentiment. 

The story of the lordship of Glamorgan is very similar to 
that of Brecknock. Here, too, while the chief lord retained a 
substantial part of the conquered region as his own demesne, 
much of the land went to form subordinate fiefs held by the 
knights in the conqueror's train. Here also the whole lordship 
was carried by a daughter, on the death of the first holder, to 
an outsider who was not concerned in the conquest, and in this 
case was no less a person than King Henry's natural son, 
Robert. Fixing upon the site of the Roman fortress at 
Caerdyf ^*^ as the centre of his new domain, Robert fitz Hamon 
raised there the moated mound which was the beginning of 
Cardiff Castle, and upon which was placed at a later date the 
many-sided keep of masonry still towering above it^^^ — the 
visible sign for many generations of the authority of the lords- 
of Glamorgan. Cardiff became a borough, the inhabitants of 
which had two churches, the parish church of St. Mary and the 
chapel of St. John ; ^** it was also the administrative centre of 
the lordship, where the sheriff (for, like Pembroke, this marcher 
lordship was important enough to be treated as a shire) ^*^ held 
the county court of Glamorgan for the tenants of the lord's 
own demesne, and where the knights who held outlying dis- 
tricts as subordinate fiefs repaired to render such service as 
was due to their chief.^*^ Broadly speaking, Robert retained 

i"*^ Gir. Camb. vi. 34-5 [Itin. i, 2). 

^^^ Caer Dyf (whence the EngHsh Cardiff) is the older form {cf. Bruts, 330, 
348, 349, 350, 367; Fl. Wig. s.a. 1134); the modern Welsh Caer Dydd is a de- 
rivative of it ; cf. carnddcL for camfa. For the Roman fort see p. 77. 

^^^ Clark's account {Med. Mil. Arch. i. 336-50) is full, but needs to be supple- 
mented by that of Ward in Archceologia, Ivii. (igoi), 335-52. 

"* A charter of Robert fitz Hamon speaks of the " burgum " at Cardiff 
(Curiae Glani. i. i) and another grants the two churches to Tewkesbury Abbey 
[Mon. Angl. ii. 67). 

^■*^ There was a " comitatus" of Glamorgan (Cart. Glouc. ii. 20) or Cardiff 
(ibid. i. 347) and a " vicecomes " of Glamorganshire (ibid.) or Cardiff (Cartae 
Glatn. i. 2; Lib. Land. 93, 29), but no "comes," the earldom being merged in 
that of Gloucester. 

I'^^For the places of the knights in Cardiff Castle see Leland, Wales, pp. 
34-5 ; Powel, 95 ; Med. Mil. Arch. i. 349. 



CHAP, in his own hands the fertile coast region from the Rhymney to 
the Afan, including the plain of Cibwyr around Cardiff, the 
lands of Llandaff, Llanilltud and Llancarfan and the region of 
Mai^an between the Ogwr and the sea.^*" The march between 
Gower and Glamorgan, lying west of the river Neath, was given 
to Richard of Grainville, a Devonshire knight who raised his 
castle on the river bank.^^^ The land between the Neath and 
the Afan was, with wise generosity, bestowed upon the dynasty 
which Robert had dispossessed. lestyn ap Gwrgant, it is true, 
is represented by tradition to have sought consolation for his 
loss of a kingdom in religious seclusion, dying in the priory of 
Llangenydd in Gower,^*^ but his son Caradog became lord of 
Rhwng Nedd ac Afan and was the first of a line who long held 
the district and its castle and borough of Aberafan.^^** Between 
the Ogwr and the Ewenni lay the lordship of Coety, where Payn 
of Turbeville founded the illustrious house which left its mark 
so deep in the annals of Glamorgan.^" Another son of the 
unfortunate lestyn, named Rhys, appears to have received the 
castle and lordship of Rhuthyn.^*^ Powerful magnates in the 
low-lying lands were William of London at Ogmore Castle, 
Herbert of St. Quintin'sat Llanblethian, near Cowbridge, Robert 
of Humfreville at Penmark, and Robert le Sor at Peterston on 

'"After the extensive donations made to the Cistercian convent of Margam, 
the region around Llangynwyd became isolated from the rest of the lord's demesne 
and came to be specially known as " Tir yr larll " or " The Earl's Land". See 
the lists of commotes; Leland, Wales, pp. 28, 33, 34; Arch. Camb. IV. ix. 
(1878), 124. 

'*8 See the foundation charter of Neath Abbey (1130) in Mon. Angl. v. 259. 
Richard de " Greinuilla " (Grainville on the west coast of Normandy ?) appears 
in the Pipe Roll, 31 Hen. I. (Dorset, p. 15) and among the witnesses to a treaty 
between the Earls of Gloucester and Hereford which has been assigned to June, 
1142 {Geoff. Mand. 381-3). 

149 Gw. Brut, s.a. 1088 (Llangenyi). 

1*" Caradog first appears in Ann. Marg. s.a. 1127. He married Gwladus, 
a daughter of Gruffydd ap Rhys (Gir. Camb. vi. 69 {Itin. i. 7) ; B.T. s.a. 1175 (p. 
227 ; Briifs, 333)). 

181 For the limits of the lordship of Coety see Arch. Camb. IV. ix. (1878), 
114-5. " Pagano de Turbertiuilla " witnesses the agreement made between Earl 
Robert and Bishop Urban of Llandaff in 1126 {Lib. Land. 29) ; cf. also the 
foundation charter of Neath (" Torbivilla " — Mon. Angl. v. 259). It is not 
clear how the family were connected (if at all) with the Turbevilles of Crickhowel 
in Brecknock. 

i^This is asserted by Clark in his account of Rhuthyn {Arch. Camb. IV. ix. 
(1878), 12) and is confirmed by the fact that Rhys gave to Neath Abbey the church 
and land of" Saint Ilith," i.e., Llanilid {Mon. Angl. v. 259). 


the Ely.^^^ The regions of Meisgyn, Glyn Rhondda and Seng- CHAP, 
henydd were left in the hands of the Welsh, who ranged over 
the wide moorlands with their sheep and cattle and from time 
to time reminded their more prosperous neighbours of the plain 
by sudden raids upon them of the ancient and unforgotten claims 
of a conquered people, 

Robert fitz Hamon, fighting on the king's side against 
Duke Robert in Normandy, was wounded in the head, and, after 
living for some months with beclouded brain, died in March, 
1107.^^* He left as heiress a daughter, Mabel, who, with her 
great possessions in Glamorgan, Gloucestershire and elsewhere, 
passed into the king's guardianship, so that for many years 
the province was under Henry's direct rule.^^^ Finally he gave 
her in marriage to his illegitimate son Robert, who, after the 
drowning of the heir to the crown in the shipwreck of 1 1 20, 
assumed new importance in the royal circle and was created 
Earl of Gloucester.^^^ For some twenty-five years Earl Robert 
bore rule at Bristol and at Cardiff as a great noble of the realm ; 
it was at the latter place that he kept, within the strong walls 
of his castle, that illustrious prisoner of the king's, Duke Robert 
of Normandy, of whom he had charge from 1 1 26 until death 
set the unhappy captive free in February, 1 1 34.^*^ No man 
was more trusted by Henry and no one more fully repaid his 
confidence by unswerving fidelity in later days to the cause of 
the Empress Matilda. His services to letters will be spoken of 

153 Herbert " de S. Quintino " and Robert " le Sor " witness a charter which 
was drawn up in the time of Robert fitz Hamon {Cartae Glani. i. 2). See also the 
History of the Monastery of Abingdon (Rolls ed. 1858), ii. 96, 106. William " de 
lundriis " is mentioned as the father of Maurice in Lib. Land. 37, and B.T. s.a. 
1113 (p. 126) shows that " gwilim o lundein " {Bruts, 297) held a castle in South 
Wales in 1116. Robert "de Umfranvilla" appears in the Neath charter of 1130 
{Mon. Angl. v. 259). In 1126 most of the knightly families of Glamorganiwere 
in the second generation ; Maurice had succeeded William, Richard Herbert of 
St. Quintin and Odo Robert le Sor. Clark {Land of Morgan, p. 31) also includes 
the houses of Siward and Sully among the early settlers, but the evidence seems 
weak. The Flemings, the St. Johns and the Stradlings were undoubtedly later 
arrivals, notwithstanding the attempts (Powel, 90-4) to connect them with the 

15^ Wm. Malm. G.R. 475 (625); Fl. Wig.; Ann. Marg. and Ann. Theokesb. 
s.a. 1107 ; Mon. Angl. ii. 60 ; Diet. Nat. Biog. xix. p. 159. 

1*" Probably for ten or fifteen years (Land of Morgan, pp. 44-5). 

156 Between April, 1121, and June, 1123 {Geoff. Maud. 420-34). 

i»M.S. Chr. s.a. 1126; Cont. Fl. Wig. s.a. 1134; Ord. Vit. xii. 46, xiii. 9; 
Wm. Malm. G.R. 463 (611). 


CHAP, in a future chapter, and it would seem that in his dealings with 
^"' the Welsh he showed a just and tolerant spirit ; even his party- 
opponent, the author of the Deeds of King Stephen, admits 
that peace and tranquillity prevailed in the region which during 
the civil war he brought for a time under his authority.^^^ 

The cantref of Gwynllwg, stretching from the Rhymney to 
the Usk, was a member of the lordship of Glamorgan, held 
under Robert fitz Hamon by Robert of Hay,^^® but afterwards 
vested in the chief lord. Below the height on which stands 
the ancient foundation of Gwynllyw or St. WooUo, the Usk 
winds its way in leisurely fashion through a broad tidal channel 
to the Severn estuary. Here was set up the principal castle 
of Gwynllwg, which the Welsh called " Y Castell (or, in shorter 
form, Y Cas) Newydd ar Wysg," but which the English styled, 
from the settlement at its foot, New Port or New Borough.^^'' 
The broad lands of Gwent, on the other hand, formed no part 
of the territory bestowed upon Robert fitz Hamon and passed 
to other knights, who were of independent authority on this 
western march. Henry I., at some time prior to 1 1 1 9, gave 
the forfeited lands of Earl Roger of Hereford in Gwent Iscoed 
or Netherwent to Walter fitz Richard, a brother of Gilbert fitz 
Richard, the winner of Ceredigion, and thus established the 
Clare family between the Usk and the Wye, where they long 
held in their hands the key of South Wales, the rock -built keep 
of Chepstow.^^^ On the banks of the Usk two brothers from 
Ballon in Maine were settled by Rufus, Hamelin at Aber- 
gavenny, which became the centre of the lordship of Gwent 

1'* Gesta Sc. 96-7 (94). The silence of all the authorities, including Giraldus 
Cambrensis, whose interest in his mother's kindred is so well known, makes it 
very improbable that Robert was, as has been alleged (Gw. Brut, s.a. mo), the 
son of Nest. He was born before iioo (" quern ante regnum susceperat " — Wm. 
Malm. H.N. 529 (692)). See Norm. Conq. v. p. 852. 

i"** " Robertus de Haia," with the consent of Robert fitz Hamon, gave Basa- 
leg and other churches in this district to Glastonbury {Cartae Glam. i. 2) and St. 
Woollo's to St. Peter's, Gloucester {Cart. Glouc. ii. 51). The latter grant was 
said to have been made before the death of Herwald of Llandaff in 1104. 

160 uy castell newyd ar wysc " may be found in B.T. 218 (where the 
editor's " Newcastle upon Usk " is a pleasant invention of his own) and Bruts, 
330. " Cas " in such forms as Cas Gwent (Chepstow), Cas Llychwr (Loughor), 
etc., is explained m Owen, Petnb. i. 210, 410. For " port " in the sense of 
town, borough, see A.S. Chr. MS. C. s.a. 1055, where it is used of Hereford, 
and Plummer's note (ii. 245). The Latin rendering was " Novum Burgum ". 

^*i For Walter fitz Richard see the table in Feudal England, p. 473, and 
Round, Peerage and Family History (Westminster, 1901), p. 212. 


Uchcoed or Overwent, and Winibald at Caerleon, where he CHAP, 
was the successor of Turstin fitz Rolf. Hamelin disappears ^^^' 
after 11 06 and before 11 19 Brian fitz Count, a natural son of 
Count Alan of Brittany, takes his place at Abergavenny. 
Winibald, on the other hand, seems to have held the legendary 
seat of King Arthur's rule throughout the reign of Henry I. 
and to have been succeeded there by his son Roger.^*^ At 
Monmouth, the centre of an important marcher lordship, 
William fitz Baderon was succeeded about 1125 by his son 
Baderon.^^^ Ewias passed through more than one vicissitude ; 
its powerful lord, Roger de Lacy, was in 1095 disinherited and 
driven from England for his share in the Mowbray conspiracy 
against Rufus, and his lands were given to his brother Hugh.^®^ 
Hugh, again, died without issue about 1 1 15, and Ewias Lacy 
was bestowed by Henry L upon Payn fitz John, one of the 
baronial officials upon whom he relied so much for the carrying 
out of his plans for the government of the country.^^^ One 
notes with interest that at the end of Henry's reign the three 
contiguous lordships of Brecknock, Ewias and Upper Gwent 
were held by three of his trusty counsellors and administrators, 
who formed in this district a solid nucleus of resistance to 
feudal unrest and disaffection. 

It may be said of almost all these little kings of the south- 
east, as of their comrades further west, that they believed in the 
wisdom of allying their cause with that of religion by planting 
colonies of monks in the territories they had acquired. The 
reigns of Rufus and Henry I. saw the foundation of a number 
of religious houses in the region between the Tawe and the 
Wye. Robert fitz Hamon, while it was his special aim to enrich 
the abbeys of Tewkesbury and of St. Peter's, Gloucester, with 
the spoils of the older Welsh churches of his dominions, appears 
to have founded a cell of the former house at Cardiff, the now 
vanished St. Mary's serving, no doubt, as the priory church.^^^ 

182 For a full account of the Ballon family see Round, ut supra, chap. iv. 

'^^In the letter of Calixtus II. addressed to the magnates of the diocese of 
Llandaff in 1119 {Lib. Land. 93), we have " Willelmo filiobadrun," but in that 
of Honorius II. belonging to 1128 (ibid. 37), " Batrun filio Willelmi ". 

I'^^Ord. Vit. viii. 23 ; Feudil England, pp. 176, 312. 

185 «i Pagano filio Johannis " was a magnate of the diocese of Llandaff as 
early as 11 19 [Lib. Land. 93). 

106 Tradition ascribes the foundation to Robert of Gloucester (Tanner, 715), 
but the charter of Robert fitz Hamon printed in Cartae Glam. i. i, implies that 


CHAP. Richard of Grainville was more ambitious; in 1130 he gave 
the brethren of Savigny le Vieux, where a monastic reformation 
had been inaugurated, land between the Neath and the Tawe 
for the establishment of an abbey of the reformed type, which 
soon became an important institution.^*^ Owing to the merg- 
ing cf the order of Savigny in 1147 in the more famous fra- 
ternity of Citeaux,^^^ the later history of Neath Abbey belongs 
to the tale of Cistercian progress in Wales and it forms a sub- 
stantial chapter in that interesting record. In Gwynllwg, 
Robert of Hay made the church of Basaleg a cell of the re- 
nowned abbey of Glastonbury,'^^ while Winibald of Caerleon 
founded at Malpas, not far from his castle, a priory which was 
dependent upon Montacute in Somerset.^^** Goldcliff, set up in 
II 13 by Robert of Chandos, was an alien priory, subordinate 
to the great Norman house of Bec.^^^ Chepstow was the oldest 
of all the Norman foundations, for it owed its origin to William 
fitz Osbem, who made it a cell of the abbey he had himself en- 
dowed at Cormeilles.^"^ Abergavenny claimed Hamelin of 
Ballon as its founder, who, being a native of Maine, attached it 
to the abbey of St. Vincent at Le Mans.^" Monmouth Priory 
was also of early origin and could boast of this distinction, that 
its founder Wihenoc, the Breton who held the castle for 
William I. after the fall of Earl Roger, not only gave the 
church and much property with it to the abbey of St. Florent 
at Saumur on the Loire, but proved at the same time the 
sincerity of his devotion by renouncing his worldly honours 
and entering St. Florent as a monk. With a simplicity which 

there were in his time monks settled at Cardiff and holding St. Mary's for 

^*^ The foundation charter is printed in Mon. Angl. v. 259 and Curiae 
Giant, i. 6-7. For the date see Ann. Marg. and Ann. Camb. s.a. 1130. Ord. 
Vit. (viii. 27) tells the story of the beginnings of Savigny (on the borders 
of Normandy, Maine and Brittany); cf. the charter of Hen. I. in Cal. Doc. 
Fr. 287.8. 

^^^Eng. Hist. Rev. viii. (1893), pp. 668-70. " Not" on p. 669 is Neath. 

169 Carton Giant, i. 2; Mon. Angl. iv. 633-4. 

'^''° Lib. Land. 30, 53; Mon. Angl. v. 173-4; Round, Peerage and Family 
History, p. 197. 

I'^i Mon. Angl. vi. 1022 ; Charter Rolls, ii. 361-3. Gir. Camb. vi. 56 {Hin. i. 
5) explains the name ; cf. Coxe (2), 60-1. The Welsh called the place Gallt 
Eurin (Rees, Welsh SS. p. 342). 

^'^Mon. Angl. iv. 652-4. 

^"^^Cal. Doc. Fr. i. 367-8; Round, ut supra, 192. 

was rare in the high-born Norman devotee, he outran the lavish CHAP. 


gifts of his neighbours by the bestowal of himself ^'^^ 

There was one house of religion established by Normans 
upon Welsh soil during this period in the building of which 
policy had no part and which was the outcome of unalloyed 
religious fervour. In an age when it was as common to endow 
abbeys and priories as nowadays colleges and schools, the story 
of the foundation of Llanthony was told and retold as memor- 
able and unique, and drew the sympathetic attention of the 
highest in the land.^''^ Llanddewi Nant Honddu, " St. David's 
in the valley of the Honddu," ^'''^ was a little mountain church in 
the wildest part of Ewias Lacy, at the bottom of a winding glen 
which was walled in on three sides by hills towering to the 
height of a thousand feet above the river below. Here came, 
in the time of Rufus, a knight William who, forswearing his 
military ambitions and laying aside for ever his blood-stained 
arms, devoted himself to the service of God as an anchorite, 
who should pray and fast in solitude in this forest hiding- 
place. His fame soon spread abroad, for nothing so quickly 
touched the imagination of that age as a life of exceptional 
austerity, and in 1 1 03 he was joined by a companion, a priest 
named Ernisius, who was one of the chaplains of Queen 
Matilda. The next step was to rebuild the church ; in 1 108 
the new building, erected in honour of St. John the Baptist, 
the pattern of all hermits, was consecrated by Bishops Urban 
of Llandaff and Reinelm of Hereford.^^^ And now the two 
solitaries were urged to extend to other souls the spiritual 
advantages of this holy retreat and to allow a convent of some 
kind to be formed there. They yielded, decided to join the 
order of Austin Canons, a body who combined the monastic 

^''^ The early charters of Monmouth were printed by Marchegay in Chartes 
du Prieure de Monmouth (Paris, 1879 — a reprint from the Bibliotheque de I'Ecole 
des Chartes, vol. x!.). Their contents are summarised in Cal. Doc, Fr. i. 406-14, 
so far as they are preserved in the departmental archives at Angers. 

1" The early history of Llanthony is told by Gir. Camb. vi. 37-41 {Itin. i. 3) 
and in Cott. MS. Julius D. x., the contents of which are summarised in Arch. 
Camb. I. i. {1846), 201-28. Cf. also Angl. Sac. ii. 299-305, 321-2 ; Lib. Land. 

178 » Llantony " is an English corruption of the true name in its shorter form 
" Llan Nant Honddu ". 

1'''^ The MS. has apparently " Ramelino". Urban and Reinelm were conse- 
crated together on nth August, 1107 {Reg. Sacr. (2), 41). 


CHAP, life with the exercise of priestly functions, and soon had as 
' many as forty canons around them in this remote wilderness, 
Hugh de Lacy gave with alacrity the necessary endowments, 
and would willingly have given more had not the two founders 
dreaded the growth of riches and luxury, lest their house should 
degenerate and become no better than a common Benedictine 
abbey. During the lifetime of Henry I. neither the prosperity 
nor the reputation of Llanthony suffered eclipse ; it became 
one of the most famous houses of Great Britain. Bishop 
Roger of Salisbury visited it, and, on his return, astonished his 
royal master by telling him that it had cloisters for the building 
of which the whole treasure of the realm would not suffice, 
thus speaking in a parable of its girdle of mountains. The 
queen's interest was aroused, and she also paid the place a visit ; 
it was long remembered how the purse of gold which she had 
contrived to slip into the folds of Knight William's dress had 
been, not indeed discourteously rejected, but forthwith diverted 
to the adornment of the church. It was at Llanthony, rather 
than in any Gloucestershire abbey, that Walter of Gloucester, 
father of the famous Miles, chose to end his days,^"* and it was 
from Llanthony that Miles and Payn fitz John in 1 129 desired 
the king to appoint a successor to Bishop Richard of Hereford. 
The prior, Robert of B^thune, selected for this honour, fought 
strenuously, as became the sincere recluse, against his promo- 
tion ; he prevailed upon Urban of Llandaff, his diocesan, to 
refuse for a year and more the requisite assent. At last. Pope 
Innocent II. intervened, and in 1 1 3 1 broke down the opposition 
of the bishop and the prior. But the parting of Robert from 
the loved scene of his early labours was a sore one. His bio- 
grapher and companion, William of Wycombe, tells how, when 
they reached the summit of Hatteral Hill and cast a last look 
upon the homes of peace beneath, the troubled spirit of the prior 
found vent in sobs and tears, " for it seemed to him that, like 
Adam of old, he was being driven from Paradise into exile ". 

178 «< In episcopatu Menevensi habitum suscepit canonici et ibi sepultus est " 
{Cart. Glouc. i. Ixxvi-vii). 


IV. The Subjugation of ^he Welsh Church. chap. 


(The materials for the history of the Welsh Church under Rufus and Henry 
I. will be found in H. and St. i. 299-344, ^^^- Land, and the contemporary 
chroniclers. Newell, History of the Welsh Church, and Jones and Freeman, 
History and Antiquities of St. David's, may be used with advantage.) 

It was a natural result of the triumph of the Norman arms 
that the Welsh should in a large measure lose control of the 
agencies which provided for their spiritual needs, for, though 
the Normans were devout and not divided from the vanquished 
race by any serious religious differences, yet they had their own 
ideas as to what was seemly and admirable in religious organ- 
isation and were by no means prepared to accept Welsh 
ecclesiastical institutions as they stood. While knight and 
monk and trader were parcelling out the land for their enjoy- 
ment, a process was going on which may be compendiously 
described as the subjection of the Welsh Church. For, although 
the term Church can hardly in strictness be applied to a body 
which had no constitutional unity, no recognised head and no 
synod for common action,^^^ yet the four Welsh dioceses, while 
they had no machinery to enable them to act in concert, were 
closely knit together by community of sentiment and practice, 
and the policy of the conquerors towards them was in essence 
the same. If not formally, yet substantially, the measures of 
the Normans were directed against a national church. 

Of these measures the first in order of importance was the 
filling of the Welsh sees with men, who, by making profession 
of canonical obedience to the Archbishop of Canterbury, put an 
end to the independence of their dioceses and brought them 
into the southern province of the English Church. While much 
of the evidence advanced at a later time in support of the claim 
of St. David's to be a metropolitan see was flimsy and un- 
historical, this part of the case undoubtedly rested on a firm 
foundation, that the dioceses of Wales had not before the Nor- 
man Conquest generally recognised the authority of Canter- 

i''^ Synods of the British Church are often mentioned in connection with the 
sixth and seventh centuries ; cf. Bede, H.E. ii. 2 (ut secundo synodus pluribus 
aduenientibus fieret) ; H. and St. i. 116-8, 121. But nothing of the kind appears 
in later times. The " sened " of the laws {LL. i. 18, 52, 356, 476, 478, 638) is 
clearly the ecclesiastical court for the trial of offences by or against clerics. 


CHAP, bury.^^*' The change which was now brought about was, 
therefore, fundamental ; it proved irrevocable, and as decisively 
marks an epoch in the history of the Welsh Church as the sub- 
mission to Rome in the eighth century or the Reformation in 
the sixteenth. 

The first attempt to subject a Welsh bishopric to Norman 
control was made in connection with Earl Hugh of Chester's 
brief tenure of power in Anglesey and Snowdonia. The see of 
Bangor was at this time vacant, and in 1 092 the earl procured 
the election as bishop of a Breton named Herv6,^®^ who was 
one of the favourite chaplains of Rufus.^^'^ Owing to the death 
of Lanfranc in 1089 and the king's delay in appointing a 
successor, there was at the time no Archbishop of Canterbury ; 
Herv6 was accordingly consecrated by Archbishop Thomas of 
York,^®^ and the question of obedience to a metropolitan is not 
known to have arisen.^^* But in other ways national feeling 
was unmistakably flouted in the appointment ; the election was 
probably a forced one, and ten years later Paschal II. does not 
scruple to describe the promotion as barbarously and absurdly 
carried out, in a way only half excused by the barbarity of the 
people over whom Herve was set.^^^ Bishop and flock never 
arrived at an understanding ; the former adopted harsh measures 
and relied for protection upon the armed bands who surrounded 
him ; the latter retaliated by killing his relatives and threatening 
his own life.^®^ Finally, when the Norman power waned in the 
district, Herv6 had to beat a retreat ; the pitiful case of the 
Welsh bishop who could not live in his diocese engaged for 
many years the attention of king, pope and primate, until in 
1 1 09 he was translated to the newly established see of Ely.^^^ 

1*" H. and St. i. 308, note to Wm. Malm. See pp. 287-8 for alleged consecra- 
tions of Bishops of Llandaff and St. David's before 1066 by Archbishops of 
Canterbury ; the Llandaff cases may be genuine, since the evidence comes from 
Lib. Land., but the St. David's instances from R. de Diceto carry no conviction. 

181 " Hervei Britonis " (Ord. Vit. xii. i (IV. 312)). 

18'^ H. and St. i. 299 (from Arundel MS. 220). 

183 Hist. Ch. York, ii. 104 ; H. and St. i. 299 ; Reg. Sacr. (2), 40. 

18* No profession of Herv6's is to be found in the Canterbury rolls (H. and 
SL i. 299). 

188 i< Inter barbaros barbarice et stolide promotus est " (Letter of 12th Dec, 
1102, addressed to Anselm — see Eadmer, 139). 

186 Angl. Sacr. i. 678-80 ; H. and St. i. 303-6. Cf. Wm. Malm. G.P. 325-6. 

187 To the foregoing references, add Angl. Sacr. i. 615-6; Eadmer, 210-1; 
Migne, clix. 162-3 (Letter of Anselm to Henry L) ; Wm. Malm. G.R. 517-8 (680). 


Thus the subjection of the see of Bangor under Herve was CHAP, 
only temporary, as was the Norman conquest of Gwynedd 
which made it possible. It was otherwise in Gwent and 
Morgannwg. Not only was the conquest of Robert fitz Hamon 
thorough and lasting, but, owing to its nearness to such active 
centres of English life as Bristol, Gloucester and Hereford, the 
see of Llandaff had for ages been in close touch with England. 
The cathedral clergy were largely of English upbringing,^^^ and 
during the tenth and eleventh centuries the bishops had com- 
monly been consecrated by the English primate.^^^ During 
the Norman invasion the bishopric was held by Herwald, a 
Welshman educated in England, who had been consecrated in 
1056 by Archbishop Kinsige of York,^®*' and who died at a 
great age on 6th March, 1 1 04.^^^ Thus there was little resist- 
ance to overcome in this region and nothing to do but await 
the death of Herwald, when his place might be filled by a 
prelate of a less provincial type. Meanwhile, the old man's 
weakness exposed the lands of the see to indiscriminate plunder 
and left the diocese without a real head.^®^ He was suspended 
by Anselm for some fault,^^^ but died nevertheless in possession 
of his bishopric. Owing to the quarrel between Henry I. and 
Anselm and, it may be, to the illness of Robert fitz Hamon, 
there was delay in appointing a successor, and it was not until 
nth August, 1 107, that a young cleric of the diocese. Urban, 
Archdeacon of Llandaff, was consecrated by the primate at 
Canterbury.^^* There is no evidence as to his origin and he 

188 <« Propter Anglorum vicinia(m), a quibus in ecclesiastico quidem minis- 
terio nichil discrepabant, quia apud eosdem fuerant tam nutriti quam eruditi " 
(Letter of Bishop Urban to Calixtus II. — Lib. Land. 88). 

189 According to Lib. Land. 246, Gwgon was consecrated by Dunstan, at a 
date which may be fixed between 963 (consecration of ^thelwold of Winchester) 
and 971 (death of ^Ifheah " dux "—see Fl. Wig. s.a.). The figure DCCCCL- 
XXXII is to be taken with " migrauit ad dominum " and gives the year of 
Gwgon's death. Bledri was similarly consecrated by Elfric (995-1005), though 
elected in 983 (Lib. Land. 252), and Joseph by ^Ethelnoth (1020-1038). The year 
in the latter case cannot be 1022, as in the MS. {ibid.), for ^thelnoth was then 
at Rome {A.S. Chr. MS. D. s.a.) ; Stubbs suggests 1027 {Reg. Sacr. (2), 34), 
when ist October fell upon a Sunday. 

1*" Lib. Land. 265-6. P. 280 shows that for 1059, 1056 is to be read (so Reg. 
Sacr. (2), 36), a date which explains the part played by Kinsige, since Stigand 
did not receive the pall or consecrate bishops until 1058. 

i»i Lib. Land. 280. i»a Ibid. 88. 

193 Migne, clix. 52-3 ; H. and St. i. 299-300. 

"< Lib. Land. 280 ; Eadmer, 187 ; Fl. Wig. s.a. 


CHAP, may have been a Welshman,^^^ but what is beyond doubt is that, 
before consecration, he promised canonical obedience to Anselm 
and his successors, and thus placed Llandafif in definite subordi- 
nation to the English primate.^^^ 

Little is known of the doings of Urban in the early years 
of his episcopate, but in the latter part of it he was a prominent 
prelate of the English Church and shared fully in its life. He 
attended the Council of Rheims in 1119,^®' the Council of 
Westminster in 1 125,^^^ and the second Council of Westminster 
in 1127,^'^ besides taking part in the consecration of many 
bishops. There could be no greater contrast to the seclusion 
of Herwald. Nevertheless, he was far from neglecting the 
special interests of his see. His little cathedral was only some 
twenty-eight by fifteen feet, not reckoning the aisles and the 
porch, and he resolved, in accordance with the spirit of the 
time, to undertake a scheme of rebuilding. The work was 
commenced in 1 1 20,^"" but proceeded slowly for lack of funds ; 
it was in progress when John of Crema, the papal legate to 
England, visited Llandaff in 1125 and gave his benison to the 
enterprise. ^°^ Whether Urban had the satisfaction of seeing 
the building completed is not known, but to the movement 
initiated by him are no doubt to be attributed the earliest 
portions of the existing cathedral, and among them the beauti- 
ful presbytery arch, which is believed to have been the chancel 
arch of the structure of Urban's planning.^''^ He was also a 
doughty combatant on behalf of the rights of his see. His 
differences with the chief lord. Earl Robert of Gloucester, were 

^8" Urban had a brother who bore the Norman name of " Galfridus " (hih. 
hand. 360, from Cott. MS. Vesp. A. xiv.) and another called " Esni " {ihid. 85), 
which is apparently English (there was an Esne, bishop of Hereford, in 786— 
Reg. Sacr. (2), 15). No inferencecan be drawn from his own name, and the forms 
" Worgan " (B. Sues. s.a. 1104) *nd "Gwrfan " (Gw. Brut,s.a. 1103) are of no 

^8^ See the profession in H. and St. i. 303. 

^^^ Eadmer, 255 ; Lib. Land. 89. 

198 This may be inferred from the fact that the summons received by Urban 
and the acts of the Council have been copied into Lib. Land. 49-51. The copyist 
seems, however, to be wrong when he states that Urban revived his claim against 
the bishops of Hereford and St. David's in this Council. See Cont. Fl. Wig. 
s.a. 1 128. 

199 Cont. Fl. Wig. s.a. 200 ub. Land. 86. 201 jjj^. ^g. 

202 See the account by Freeman of the Norman church in Arch. Camb. II. 
1.(1850), 1 13-9. 


amicably adjusted, and a formal agreement drawn up at Wood- CHAP, 
stock in 1126,^^^ but the struggle with the bishops of St. ^^^' 
David's and Hereford, which involved the question of the limits 
of their dioceses, he carried on till the day of his death. Re- 
ceiving no support in the matter from the English bishops, he 
took the case in person to Rome in 1128, and again in 1129, 
and was a third time in attendance at the papal court when 
death put an end to his efforts at Pisa in the autumn of 1 133.^*'* 

The next see to fall under the yoke of Canterbury was St. 
David's, and this was a surrender of the highest significance. 
For St. David was the best-known saint in Wales, honoured by 
the largest number of churches ; his episcopal seat had for ages 
been the chief ecclesiastical centre of the country, notwithstand- 
ing that the bishop seems to have had none of the privileges 
and to have exercised none of the rights of a metropolitan.^^^ 
Such ecclesiastical culture as flourished in Wales reached its 
highest point at St. David's ; at the end of the eleventh 
century, the tradition of learning represented earlier by Asser 
was still worthily carried on by Bishop Sulien, a native of 
Llanbadarn Fawr, who had spent many years in study in the 
chief monastic schools of the Celtic world.^''^ Until 1093 the 
surroundings of St. David's were purely Welsh, and it was the 
fall of Rhys ap Tewdwr which exposed to Norman attack this 
ancient stronghold of Welsh religion and ultimately led to the 
loss of its independence. 

The last of the independent line of bishops was Wilfrid, 
who, despite his name, was a Welshman,^"" elected in 1085 on 
the retirement of Sulien and consecrated, during the ascendancy 

2°^ hih. Land. 27-9. 

^'^*Eng. Hist. Rev. ix. (1894), PP- 53I-2. Hen. Hunt, enters the death of 
Urban under the thirty-fourth year of Henry I. (253), which, in the case of an 
event between 5th August and 31st December, means 1133. Roger of Wen- 
dover's unauthorised 1134^ has misled many later writers. 

^os On this question see H. and St. i. 148-50. 

^o** For Sulien and his descendants see note appended to this chapter. 

2"^ This is implied in the statements of Fl. Wig. s.a. 11 15 (usque ad ilium 
episcopi extitere Brytonici) and Gir. Camb. vi. 105 (Bernardus . . . primus 
Francorum apud Meneviam episcopus). The best attested forms of the name 
are Wilfre (Ann. C. MS. B. s.a. 1115 ; Gir. Camb. vi. 104), Wilfridus (MS, C. ; 
th Wig.; Eadmer ; Gir. Camb. iii. 152) and Wilfredus (Gir. Camb. vi, 90). 
Only B.r.has leffrei (p. 118 — Bruts, 294), and only Gw. Brut Griffri (s.a. 1112), 
which are to be rejected, together with the conjecture Gruffydd (H. and St. i. 


CHAP, of Rhys ap Tewdwr, without reference to Canterbury.^"^ There 
is no need to ask, therefore, to which side he gave his sympathy 
and countenance in the struggle between Norman and Welsh- 
man for the possession of Dyfed. During the siege of Pem- 
broke by the Welsh in 1096 he was, as has already been 
mentioned, in the counsels of the besieging host, and his 
cantref of Pebidiog was raided in the following year by Gerald 
of Windsor by way of retaliation.^"^ He is said to have been 
seized on one occasion by the men of Arnulf Montgomery and 
held a prisoner for forty days.^^** His relations with Anselm 
are not easy to define with exactness ; the primate at first 
asserted his authority by issuing against him a decree of 
suspension, but in the spring of 1095 ^^e tuo came to an 
understanding and Wilfrid's position was recognised, with 
what sacrifice of liberty on his part it is impossible to say.^^^ 
Anselm, at any rate, was so far his friend as to write about 
1 1 00 to the Norman magnates of Deheubarth, bidding them 
respect him as their bishop and, in particular, restore to him 
whatever they might have seized of the property of his see.^^^ 
Under Henry I. he ruled St. David's for fifteen uneventful 
years, endeavouring, it would seem, to be at peace with all 
men. A letter has been preserved in which he thanks the 
abbot of St. Peter's, Gloucester, for the gift of a pastoral staff, 
most opportunely made when he was in sore need of one, and 
promises in return to protect the rights acquired by the abbey 
in the church of Wiston, so long as the monks pay due regard 
to his rights as bishop. ^^^ Not long after this, in 1 1 1 5, Wilfrid 
died, and at once the question of the future of the see became 
one of living and burning interest. 

According to the Canterbury monk Eadmer, the clergy of 
St. David's asked Henry to nominate Wilfrid's successor,^^* but 

•"^ The idea that Sulien was succeeded by his son Rhygyfarch is due to a 
slip of the copyist oi Ann. C. MS. C, who wrote ep5 (episcopws) for epT (episcopi) 
in the notice " Rikewarth. f. Sulien epC mof ". Cf. also the true text oi Ann. C. 
MS. B. s.a. 1085 {Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 176), which has " fre " (for Wilfre), 
not "frater " (Ab Ithel's text, p. 28), assumed in H. and St. i. 297 to be an error 
for " filius ". The " Rhyddmarch Escob Dewi " of Gw. Brut, s.a. 1098 is of no 
authority, and the form " Rhyddmarch " is not elsewhere found. 

309 See pp. 407-8 above. "lOQir. Camb. iii. 57 (/ww^cf. ii. 6). 

211 Eadmer, 72. The meeting took place at the end of May on the road 
between Windsor and Canterbury. 

212 See note 13 above. «" Cart. Glouc. i. 265-6. "u p. 235. 


this must be regarded as the English official version of the CHAP, 
affair, for there is good evidence that the majority of the " clas " ^^^' 
resented and treated as an insult the appointment of an out- 
sider.^-^^ There were among them men of learning and char- 
acter whom they deemed suitable for the office, such as Daniel, 
son of Bishop Sulien, who as Archdeacon of Powys played for 
many years amid universal esteem the difficult yet honourable 
role of mediator between Gwynedd and his adopted province.^^® 
But the king was determined to make full use of this oppor- 
tunity for completing the conquest of South Wales and to 
place in the see a man who could be trusted to come to the aid 
of Norman knight or prior or chaplain in any emergency 
calling for the intervention of the Church. The representatives 
of the " clas," summoned to the capital for the purpose, were 
told to elect one Bernard, a chaplain of Queen Matilda's, and 
on 1 8th September, 11 15, the election took place, followed on 
the same day by the ordination of the bishop-elect as priest at 
Southwark. The consecration was pressed on with like ex- 
pedition; Sunday, the 19th, saw the ceremony performed at 
Westminster, where it had been specially fixed in order to 
enable the queen to attend and witness the elevation of her 
old servant.^^^ It is scarcely necessary to say that Bernard's 
profession of obedience to Canterbury was full and explicit.'^^^ 

During the lifetime of Henry I. (whom he survived), Bernard 
did not fall short of the expectations formed of him as a royal 
nominee. He was a good scholar, of polished and easy manners 
and conversation,^^® and had no intention of treating his promo- 
tion to St. David's as a sentence of banishment. Like Urban 
he attended the Councils of Rheims (i i ip)^^*^ and Westminster 
(1127);^^^ in 1 121 he was sent across the Channel by the 

218 « o anuod hoU ys(c)olheigon y brytanyeit gan eu tremygu " {Bruts, 
294 ; B.T. 118). B.T. here represents the view of the contemporary Llanba- 
darn chronicler. 

"BB.r. s.a. 1124 (= 1127). That he was actually elected (Jones and Freem. 
270) is an unwarranted assumption, founded upon a misunderstanding of B.T.'s 
description of him as " Daniel uab Sulyen escob Mynyw," which translates the 
" Daniel filius Sulgeni episcopi " of ^«m. Catnb. MS. C. s.a. 1127. 

217 Eadmer, ut supra. Cf. Fl. Wig. s.a. 11 15. 

"1^ H. and St. i. 307. 

219 ti vir curialis atque facetus et copiose litteratus " (Gir. Camb. iii. 152-3 
{Men. Eccl. ii.)). 

220 Eadmer, 255 ; Cont. FI. Wig. s.a. iiig. 221 Cont. Fl. Wig. s.a, 
VOL. II. 7 


CHAP, king to conduct the papal legate Peter to England ;^^^ in 1 123, 
after attending the Easter court at Winchester,^^' he went to 
Rome with the new Archbishop of Canterbury ; '^^* in 1 1 29 he 
was again at Rome in the spring,^^^ and in August attended 
the Council of London.^'^* His controversy with Bishop Urban 
took him to the second Council of Rheims in 1 1 3 1 ,^^" and in 
each of the two following years he was in London upon the 
same business. ^^^ But, while his career as a courtier and high 
ecclesiastic of the English Church was a busy one, he found 
time, like Urban, to watch over the interests of his diocese. 
There is evidence that he, too, rebuilt his cathedral, though in 
this case the later work of Bishop Peter has swept away every 
vestige of the early Norman church.^'^® He took in hand the 
reorganisation of the " clas " or cathedral chapter, which re- 
ceived as a body and consumed under no fixed rules the large 
revenues derived from the lands of the see, particularly in 
Pebidiog. It was wasteful and wrong from the Norman point 
of view that so much wealth should be lavished upon men 
who were under no monastic vows and whose manner of life 
was secular and not ascetic. Bernard made the " claswyr " 
canons, assigning to each a fixed portion of the somewhat 
slender endowment which was left after his extensive grants of 
land to the foreign knights settled in Pebidiog as his vassals.^^" 
In this as in other respects he was the enemy of the old order, 
bent upon introducing into West Wales the ideals now gener- 
ally current in Europe. He gave his full support to the new 
monasteries founded by the Norman conquerors and was 
himself the real founder of the house of black canons at 
Carmarthen. '^^^ 

After the expulsion of Herv6, there seems to have been a 

'22 Eadmer, 295. "' Feudal England, p. 483. 

"■« Cont. Fl. Wig. j.o. ; H. and St. print (i. 315-6), from Harl. MS. 1249 (see 
Owen, Catalogue, p. 236), a confirmation of the rights of the see obtained by 
Bernard on 25th May, 1123, from Calixtus II. 

226 Lit. Lawrf. 53, «2« Hen. Hunt. 251. 

227 Lib. Land. 66. ^as Hen. Hunt. 253. 

*•* See Ann. C. s.a. 1131 — " Dedicatio Menevensis ecclesiae." Jones and 
Freem. do not, however, regard this notice as conclusive (140). 

230 Gir. Camb. iii. 153-4 {Men. Eccl. ii.). Jones and Freem. discuss (310-14) 
the questions raised by this passage. No deanery was constituted and St. David's 
was without this officer until 1840 (Gir, Camb. i. 41 ; iii. 184 ; Jones and Freem. 


8" See p. 432, 


deadlock for about twenty years in regard to the bishopric of chap. 
Bangor. The Welsh of Gwynedd were not able to put forward 
the name of any candidate acceptable to the king, and they 
were too securely entrenched in their mountains to allow 
Henry to force a bishop upon them. Whether during this 
period they dispensed altogether with episcopal authority, or 
actually had a bishop who had received consecration in Ireland, 
must remain an open question.^^^ But early in 1 1 20 the 
difficulty came to an end. Grufifydd ap Cynan procured the 
election of a certain David, and Henry assented to the choice, 
provided that the supremacy of Canterbury was fully recog- 
nised by the new prelate. According to William of Malmes- 
bury, David was none other than the Irish cleric of that name 
who had accompanied the Emperor Henry V. on his famous 
journey to Italy in 1 1 1 o and had written an account of the 
expedition unduly favourable to his royal master.^^^ If this 
was the case, it is not hard to see why the king of England 
should have so readily agreed to the election of his son-in-law's 
courtly chaplain. But the matter remains in some doubt,"^^* 
and all that is clear is that David was of Celtic origin ^^^ and 
not, like his brother bishop of St. David's, of the dominant 
Norman race. Nevertheless, his consecration at Westminster 
by Archbishop Ralph on 4th April, 1 1 20,^^® preceded as it was 
by a profession of obedience to the see of Canterbury,^^'^ marks 
the entry of the third Welsh diocese, the one best able to 
preserve its independence, into the position of a subordinate 
member of the English Church. 

The fourth Welsh see, that of St. Asaph, was during the 
whole of this period in abeyance. The position of the cath- 
edral, on the border between Wales and England, had always 
been unfavourable to the growth of this see, and from 1073 

ana The letter of Gruffydd printed in Eadmer, 259-60, suggests that there had 
been no bishop (in quibus nee chrisma habuimus nee aliquid Christianitatis vere), 
but the threat to go to Ireland (quaeremus aliquem de Hibernia insula), if the 
primate will not eonsecrate David, is of some signifieance in this connection. 

2^^ G.R. 498-9 (655-6). Ord. Vit. (x. i) also refers to the work of the " Irensis 
scholastieus ". 

'^^^ See the objections of Prof. Tout in Diet. Nat. Biog. xiv. pp. 1 15-17. 

23» According to Ann. Wigorn. s.a. 1120, he was a Welshman, which, with the 
Scottus of Wm. Malm., may be taken to show that he was known to come from 
the non-Teutonic part of the British Isles. 

"8 Eadmer, 260; Cont. Fl. Wig. 5.0. 1120. "s? jj. and St. i. 314. 



CHAP, to 1 145 St. Asaph itself was within the Engh'sh sphere of 
influence, being included in the dominions of the Earl of 
Chester,^^^ while the greater part by far of the diocese as since 
defined was in the possession of the Welsh. No bishop was, 
therefore, chosen during this time, and episcopal duties were 
performed in the district by the prelates of neighbouring sees.^^" 
Tegeingl was probably treated as a part of the diocese of North- 
west Mercia (having its bishop's seat successively at Chester, 
Coventry, and Lichfield), and it is in keeping with this that 
here only in North Wales was a foreign monastery founded 
under Henry L, namely, the abbey of Basingwerk, set up as a 
house of the order of Savigny by Earl Ranulf II. of Chester in 
1 131. 2*" Southern Powys, on the other hand, was probably 
attached for the time to the see of St. David's ; it has already 
been shown that there was in this age a close political con- 
nection between Powys and Ceredigion,'-^*^ and one may infer 
that this extended to church government from the fact that 
about 1 125 the Archdeacon of Powys was a member of the 
notable family of scholars founded by Bishop Sulien of Llan- 
badarn and St. David's. ^*2 yet, although this generation had 
never seen a bishop of St. Asaph, the memory of the former 
existence of the see had not died out. When in 1 125 attempts 
were on foot to compose the eternal feud between the Arch- 
bishops of Canterbury and York, it was proposed to transfer 
from the former to the latter the bishoprics of Chester and 
Bangor and " a third which lies between these two, but is now 
vacant, owing to the desolation of the country and the rude- 
ness of the inhabitants ".^" The proposal fell through, but it 
was seriously entertained, and it deserves notice as an indica- 

838 The first date is that of the establishment of Robert at Rhuddlan (see p. 
382 above) ; the second is suggested by Owain Gwynedd's capture of Mold in 
1 146 and appearance at Coleshill in 1150. Evidence as to the continued predom- 
inance of the foreign element in Tegeingl under Henry I. is to be found in the 
charters of St. Werburgh's Abbey. In 1119 William of" Punterleya" gives the 
church and manor of Bodffari (Buttanari) and " Burell " the church of Holywell ; 
under Earl Ranulf I. (112 1-8), his brother William gives the church of Diserth 
{Mon. Angl. ii. 387). 

^^39 Hen. Hunt, recognises only three Welsh bishoprics (10). 

2*0 There is clear evidence that it was founded before 1147 {Eng. Hist. Rev. 
viii, (1893), p. 66g) and by Earl Ranulf (H.) — see Charter Rolls ii. 289-91 ; Mon. 
Angl. V. 262-3. The precise year is taken from Dugdale. 

3*1 See § ii. of this chapter. 24a p, ^61. 

^^Hist. Ch. York, ii. 211 (Hugh the Chanter). 

tion of the complete indifference to national sentiment with chap, 


which the authorities of the English Church at this time ap- 
proached the consideration of Welsh ecclesiastical problems. 
North and South Wales were to be permanently sundered in 
all Church relations ; thus does the history of even the dormant 
see of St. Asaph illustrate the success with which the Normans 
had imposed their yoke upon the Welsh in the religious no less 
than in the secular sphere. 

The annexation of the bishoprics was historically the most 
important feature of the Norman policy of subjugation, and a 
few words will suffice in illustration of its other aspects. One 
result of Norman ascendancy was the breaking up, wherever it 
extended, of the old " clas " organisation. Where the " clas " 
had a bishop at its head, it continued to exist as the cathedral 
chapter. But elsewhere within the range of Norman influence, 
it was either displaced, as at Llanbadarn Fawr and Llandeuly- 
ddog, by a new monastic foundation,^*^ or else reduced, as at 
Llancarfan and Llanilltud Fawr, to the level of an ordinary 
parish church. For the Norman the " clas " was a college of 
secular canons, a type of ecclesiastical institution which had 
been much discredited, especially in the Norman world, by the 
fierce austerity of the Hildebrandine movement, and he felt 
under no obligation to protect it. Robert fitz Hamon gave to 
the Benedictine abbey of Tewkesbury the revenues of Llanilltud 
Fawr ^^^ and to St. Peter's, Gloucester, those of Llancarfan.-*^ 
Glasbury, the " clas " on the Wye, had been bestowed upon St. 
Peter's by Bernard of Neufmarch6 at the very beginning of his 
conquest of Brycheiniog.''**'^ It resulted from this action that 
the " clas " as an institution survived only in North Wales and 
its borders, in churches such as Holyhead, Aberdaron and 
Towyn, which were out of reach of the hand of the spoiler. 

Another and more straightforward form of plunder was the 
seizure of Church property by individual knights and its devo- 
tion to their own uses. In the confusion of the conquest it 
was almost inevitable that the line of separation between 
secular and ecclesiastical property should often be overstepped 

'^** See pp. 431-2 above. 

^*A/oM. Angl. ii. 65, 67; Cartae Giant, iii. 40. The form used is " Landil- 
tuit ", 

«« Cart. Glouc. i. 93. «' See p. 397. 


CHAP, and that estates in the hands of the Church should be seized 


no less than those yielding a revenue to civil superiors. This 

was a kind of encroachment against which even foreign prelates 
raised a vigorous protest,^*^ but for the most part without 
effect. The see of St. David's lost, if our authorities are to 
be trusted, the wealthy manors of Cenarth Mawr, Lawrenny, 
Upton, Llanstadwell and St. Ishmael's, all seized by the con- 
querors of Dyfed.^*^ Llandaff was so impoverished under the 
feeble Herwald that its twenty-four canons had been reduced 
in I II 9 to two.^^** The domains of St. Asaph for a while 
totally disappeared, and in 1086 laymen held those lands at 
Meliden, Kelston, Bryngwyn, Cilowain and Bodeugan which 
seem to have been part of the ancient endowment of the 
" clas " of Llanelwy.^^^ 

The last mark of subjection to which reference will be 
made had no such practical bearing on the material life of 
Wales as those discussed above ; it touched the realm of senti- 
ment merely and yet was none the less keenly felt by a people 
so imaginative as the Welsh. This was the rededication of 
churches bearing the names of Welsh founders, unknown to 
the Christian world at large, to saints of wider reputation, 
commemorated throughout the length and breadth of Christen- 
dom. In the case of the Norman, the change was dictated 
by the requirements of fashion ; it was the substitution of the 
modem and the civilised for the antique and the grotesque. 
But in the eyes of the Welshman, it was the displacement of 
the ancient presiding genius of the place ; the new patron 
might be dignified and worthy of respect, but he was not, like 
the old, rooted in the soil and endeared by a thousand happy 
memories. Even the fame of Dewi did not protect him at first 
from being eclipsed in his peculiar shrine and habitation at 
Mynyw ; his church was dedicated to St. Andrew and his own 
name placed second in its official title, as though his unaided 

2^* See especially Migne, clix. 214 (Anselm) ; Lib. Land. 93 (Calixtus II.) ; 
ibid. 37 (Honorius II.). 

*»9Gir. Camb. iii. 152-3 (Men. Eccl. ii.) ; i. 309 {Sym. El. i. 31). For the 
identification of " Ucketune " see Owen, Pemb. i. 294. 

250 Lib. Land. 88. 

2^*1 See Ruestoch (= Meliden, Thomas, St. Asaph, p. 295), Calstan, Brenuuen, 
Chiluen, and Bodugan in Domesd. i. 26ga. For an early list of the possessions 
of the see, see Thomas, ut supra, 180. 


merits were insufficient to secure honour and protection for CHAP, 
the spot.2^2 Similarly at Llandafif, St. Peter took precedence 
of the ancient patron of the place, St. Teilo,^^^ and at Car- 
marthen, St. John the Evangelist was set before, and finally al- 
together ousted, the obscure Teulyddog.^^* Glasbury, passing 
under the control of St. Peter's, Gloucester, abandoned Cynidr 
for the apostle honoured by its masters, though Cynidr's Well 
is to this day pointed out in the parish.^^^ In many cases an 
attempt was made to soften the harshness of the transition by 
choosing a new saint whose name would vaguely recall that of 
the old. Thus at Cilgerran, Llawddog was succeeded by St. 
Laurence; 2^^ at Rockfield, Cynfal made way for St. Kenelm 
(a Mercian saint, with no Welsh connections) ; ^^^ at Foy, Tyfoe 
became St. Faith.^^^ In general, however, the effect was to 
add greatly to the number of St. Mary's, St. Nicholas's, St. 
Peter's, St. Thomas's and St. Andrew's in Wales, and to uproot 
many ancient ecclesiastical landmarks, which told of the heroic 
days, lying far back in the past, of the Church now fallen into 
weakness and bonds. 

Note to Chapter xii. § 4. — Bishop Sulien and his Family. 

A twofold interest attaches to Sulien (Old Welsh Sulgen— c/. Lib. Land. 
145, 154-6, etc.), the last but one of the independent bishops of St. David's; in 
the first place, the testimony of B.T. as to his eminence as a teacher is confirmed 
by the existence of MSS. written, as well as a work composed, under his guid- 
ance ; secondly, he founded a family of scholars, known in Central Wales for 

2S2 See Eadmer, 235 (sub patrocinio Beati Andreae et Sancti David) ; H. and 
St. i. 315 ; Gir. Camb. vi. 107 {Itin. ii. i). 

25* Lib. Land, passim. The forms " episcopus teiliav," " sacerdos teiliav," 
and " tota familia teliaui " in the Book of St. Chad show that anciently only 
Teilo was recognised. 

264 See Carm. Cart., in which " ecclesia sancti Johannis Evangelistae et 
sancti Theulaci de Kermerdyn " is a common form, but not nearly so common as 
the Church of St. John the Evangelist simpliciter. 

255 See chap. viii. note 249. 

256 J. R. Phillips, History of Cilgerran (London, 1867), pp. 50-2. 

2" The Church of St. " Kinephaut" of* Rokevilla" is mentioned in a bull 
of Urban III. (28th December, 1186) as belonging to St. Florent of Saumur {Cat. 
Doc. Fr. i. 405 ; Marchegay, 14). It is the " aecclesiam Sancti Cenfaldi " of 
William fitz Baderon's grant \Cal. Doc. Fr. i. 407 ; Marchegay, 18) to Monmouth 
Priory (a cell of St. Florent) and, no doubt, the " merthir (or lann) cmfall " of 
Lib. Land. 171, 173, 264. Round {Cal. Doc. Fr. i. li.) is in error as to the 
present dedication of Rockfield (see Welsh SS. pp. 322, 344), and his " Cennfae- 
ladh" (p. 407) is an Irish and not a Welsh form. 

258 The " lann tiuoi " of Lib. Land. 275 is clearly Foy, now dedicated to the 
virgin St. Fides. 


CHAP, nearly a century, and thus his career serves to remind us that the system of 
XII. hereditary succession which had rooted itself so firmly among the Welsh clergy 
(see p. 215 above) had its merits as well as its defects. 

According to Ann. C. and B.T. he was Bishop of St. David's from 1072 or 
1073 to 1078, when he resigned and was succeeded by Abraham, and again, after 
the murder of Abraham by the Norsemen, from 1080 to 1085, when he resigned a 
second time. He died on ist January, 1091, at the age of eighty (so the Bruts ; 
the Ixxj;. oi Ann. C. MS. C, is probably for lxx;ir.), having won the highest repute 
for wisdom and given instruction to many scholars. From a Latin poem to 
which reference will shortly be made some further particulars of his life may be 
gleaned. He was a native of Llanbadarn Fawr, sprung, it may be, from a clerical 
iaxaWy {" sapientum . . . parentum " suggests this), and early distinguished him- 
self by a thirst and aptitude for learning. After some study in Welsh 
(" Britannas ") schools, he sailed for Ireland, still famous for its teachers, but 
was driven by contrary winds to Scotland (" Albania"), where he studied for five 
years. He then carried out his purpose of visiting Ireland (" Scotorum arua ") 
and remained in the island for thirteen (?) years. He returned to Ceredigion 
(" ad patriam remeans") and there earned great renown as a teacher ; four sons, 
Rhygyfarch the Wise, Arthen, Daniel and John, were born to him, whose educa- 
tion he made his special care. In late life he was chosen Bishop of St. David's 
(" Uallis Rosinae ") and held the office for twelve years, but not continuously, 
for " bis revocatus " confirms the statement of the chronicles that he was twice 
called to it, the second time after an interval of retirement. He resigned once 
more, but was still alive (" in senio ") when the poem was written. 

As to the poem itself, it was composed by Sulien's son John or leuan be- 
tween 1085 and 1091, and written by him on the fly-leaves of a copy of the 
De Trinitate of St. Augustine which he was at the time transcribing. The MS. 
is now at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (No. 199), and the full text of the 
poem may be seen in H. and St. i. 663-7. leuan copied the theological treatise 
at his father's request (" genitoris nota "), and the result is of interest, not only as 
evidence of the scope of the studies in Sulien's school, but also as a specimen of 
old Welsh handwriting just before it was profoundly modified by Norman in- 
fluences (Rhys, quoting Bradshaw, in W. Ph. (2) p. 248). Another MS. written 
in the same hand and coming from the same school is the Psalter at Trinity 
College, Dublin (A. 4, 20), which contains Jerome's direct translation from the 
Hebrew. The scribe was apparently one " Ithael," but leuan ap Sulien was the 
illuminator, and certain Latin verses in the MS. are by Rhygyfarch, another son of 
the great doctor. See Arch. Camb. I, i. (1846), 117-25 (J. O. Westwood), H. 
and St. i. 189-90, Bradshaw, Collected Papers, p. 477. Lastly, the well-known 
life of St. David in Vesp. A. xiv., though not preserved in an eleventh-century 
MS., purports to be the work of " Ricemarchus" and may safely be regarded as 
another product of the activity of the school of Sulien. 

The chronicles enable us to follow the fortunes of Sulien's posterity until 
the middle of the twelfth century. Rhygyfarch (for his supposed episcopate see 
note 208 above) died in 1099 at the age of forty-two, having received no other in- 
struction than his father's and yet having won wide repute as a man of learning. 
A poem of his, preserved in Cotton MS. Faustina C. i. (fo. 66a) records the tribu- 
lations which befell the Welsh of Deheubarth as the result of the Norman irrup- 
tion of 1093 and reproaches them for their feeble resistance to the invader. His 
son Sulien, called after his grandfather, was left an orphan at a tender age and 
was brought up by the clergy of Llanbadarn ("mab maeth eglvi^^s Han padarn," 
— B. Sues. s.a. 1145) ; he also cultivated learning and was much in request as a 
peacemaker and a judge. He died, probably at Llanbadarn, on 22nd September, 
1147, leuan died on 30th March, 1137; though his father's name is not given 


the man who is described as " archpresbyter of Llanbadarn " and "wisest of CHAP. 
the wise " can scarcely have been other than the son of Sulien. Of Arthen XII. 
ap Sulien nothing is known, but Henry ab Arthen, the " foremost scholar in 
Wales in his time" {B. Sues.), who died in 1163, was no doubt his son and a 
representative in the third generation of the traditions of his house. The fourth 
son of the bishop, named Daniel, became Archdeacon of Powys, in the days when 
there was close connection between that region and Ceredigion, and died at the 
endof 1127, having played an eminent part as intermediary between Gwynedd 
and Powys. His son, Cydifor ap Daniel, died Archdeacon of Cardigan in 1163 
and thus the family kept up the tie with the land of their origin until their disap- 
pearance from the ken of the historian. 



{Ann. C, the Bruts and Buck. Gr. ap C. are the principal authorities for this 

I. The Recovery of Gwynedd. 

CHAP. The death of Henry I, on ist December, 113 5, brought about 
an immediate change in the position of affairs in Wales. 
Everywhere the foreign yoke was cast off, the power of the 
new settlers was dauntlessly challenged, and a new spirit of 
daring and independence seemed to have seized the whole 
Welsh race. It was not that advantage was taken of the 
succession of a weak ruler to the throne of the indomitable 
Henry, for the rising was instantaneous and it spread from end 
to end of Wales long before there was time to try the mettle 
of Stephen. It was not the outburst of the revolt, but its un- 
checked progress, which revealed the weakness of the king. 
Under any king, it would for a time have seriously taxed the 
resources of the crown, for in it forces found vent which had 
long been gathering strength, but had been hitherto repressed 
and restrained by the personal ascendancy of Henry. 

The quarter of Wales which had least felt the weight of the 
late king's hand had been Gwynedd, and it was natural, there- 
fore, that the new movement should find its centre and inspira- 
tion here. Throughout the reign of Henry, Gwynedd had been 
quietly winning back its old freedom and supremacy, which had 
been so shaken by the conquests of Robert of Rhuddlan and 
Earl Hugh of Chester. It will be well, before describing the 
dramatic crisis of 1135-37, briefly to trace the course of 
events in this part of the country, where the preparations for 
the change of scene had been slowly going on, out of ken of 
all but the acutest observers. 



During the period 1 100-14 Grufifydd ap Cynan, with no CHAP, 
rival to disturb his peace of mind, had made himself master of 
the country west of the Conway.^ By the death of Earl Hugh 
the Fat in 1101/ his most formidable adversary was removed 
from his path ; the earldom of Chester underwent a long 
minority, for Richard was only seven at his father's death.^ So 
substantial had the power of Grufifydd become that in 11 14 
Henry deemed it wise to lead an expedition against him.* 
There was no lack of pretexts for the attack ; Earl Richard had 
serious complaints to make of the way in which the king of 
Gwynedd received fugitive vassals of his from Rhos, and at 
midsummer a large force moved upon Wales. The princes of 
Powys took fright at the invasion ; Maredudd ap Bleddyn 
hastened to make his peace with the king, while Owain ap 
Cadwgan transferred himself and his belongings to the moun- 
tain fastnesses of the West, but the issue of the campaign shows 
that it was Grufifydd who had really to dread the king's coming. 
The army advanced in three detachments ; from the south 
came the Normans of Deheubarth, aided by a contingent from 
Devon and Cornwall,^ and at Mur y Castell, near Trawsfynydd, 
joined the king, who had travelled westward by the old Roman 
road across the Berwyn. The third detachment was led by 
King Alexander I. of Scotland and Earl Richard, and no doubt 
set out from Chester by the coast road leading to the mouth of 
the Conway.^ Against so brave a muster of royal troops the 

^ See note 56 to chap. xii. 

Mmw. Cest. and Ann. C. s.a. iioi ; B.T. p. 66. Ord. Vit. x. 18 (IV. in) 
gives the day as 27th July, and says he died in his own abbey of St. Werburgh's, 

3" Puer vii annorum " {An7i. Cest. s.a. iioi). The Welsh authorities (Ann. 
C. MS. C, B.T., B. Saes.) all call him Roger, a mistake which clearly goes back 
to the original Llanbadarn record. 

*Ann. C. s.a. 1114; B.T. pp. 112-18 ; B. Saes. s.a. iiii ; Buck. Gr. ap C. 
124 (733a) ; A.S. Chr. MS. E. s.a. 1114 {cf. also MS. H. in Plummer, i. 245) ; Fl. 
Wig. s.a. 1 1 14. 

■'' I cannot identify the *' Gilbert tywyssawc o gernyw " of B.T. [B. Saes. 
calls him " Gilbert iarll hoU dehev Uoegyr a chyrnyw "). 

^ The statement that Alexander and the earl came to "Pennant Bachwy" 
(B.T. MS. C, B. Saes. — the Red Book has " Pennaeth," Bruts, 293) raises 
serious difficulties. For Pennant Bachwy or Bacho is in the Plinlimmon region 
(L. G. Cothi, 468), a little east of Dylife, and very far from any line which we 
can suppose the Earl of Chester to have taken in his march against Gruffydd. 
Either the original chronicler substituted for an unfamiliar name one with which 
he was acquainted or the meeting-place of the southern contingent has been 
accidentally assigned to the northern. 


CHAP. Welsh could do little ; there was no fighting and the campaign 
resolved itself into a matter of negotiations between Owain and 
the king and between Gruffydd and the leaders of the northern 
detachment. Owain regained the royal favour on compara- 
tively easy terms, but Gruffydd, in addition to rendering 
homage and fealty, had to pay a heavy fine. He lost no 
territory or prestige, but it is easy to see that the expedition 
made a serious impression upon him, for in the following year 
he was ready to give up Gruffydd ap Rhys to Henry's 
vengeance and seven years later could not be persuaded again 
to take up arms against so mighty a king. 

Gruffydd was, in fact, growing old ; he was not far from 
sixty, and the blindness of his last years was probably already 
creeping upon him. It is not surprising, therefore, that he 
should begin to fall into the background of the story and play 
a somewhat passive part, while the forefront of the stage is 
occupied by his sons, now growing to vigorous manhood. By 
his wife Angharad, the flaxen-haired daughter of Owain ab 
Edwin, whom he married about 1095, he had three sons, 
Cadwallon, Owain, and Cadwaladr, and five daughters,^ and 
about 1 1 20 the two elder sons, it would seem, were old enough 
to take the field in place of their father. The task which was 
to engage them for the next fifteen years or so was the break- 
ing up of the influence exercised by the house of Powys, both 
directly and through dependent chiefs, upon the lands which 
bordered their realm to the north-west, and the annexation of 
these to Gwynedd. In the furtherance of this scheme they 
were greatly helped by the weakness of the line of Bleddyn, 
which after the death of Owain ap Cadwgan in 1 1 1 6 had no 
able representative and was much divided in its interests. 
Maredudd ap Bleddyn was the most notable figure in their 
midst, a man of the older generation who by escaping ass- 
assination outlived all the younger members of that turbulent 
clan and died in 1 132 lord of the whole land of Powys.^ But 

''Buck. Gr. ap C. ii8 {730), where Angharad is described as " walltwen " ; 
B.T. 152 (s.a. 1 122). The daughters were Gwenllian (not the wife of 
Cadwgan ap Bleddyn — see note 57 to chap. xii. — but of Gruffydd ap Rhys), 
Marared, Rannillt (the name of Gruffydd's mother), Susanna (who married 
Madog ap Maredudd) and Annest. 

8 " Dux Powisorum " {Ann. C. MS. B. s.a. 1132); " tegwch a diogelwch 
hoU powys ae hamdifyn " {B.T. 156). 


he was in no position to contend against the rising ambition of CHAP. 
Gwynedd ; when in 1 1 2 1 King Henry led an expedition against 
him,^ provoked by attacks which had been made upon the 
defenceless lands of Cheshire/" he was forced to retreat for 
protection to the Snowdonian wilds and to appeal to Gruffydd 
for support. The king of Gwynedd was not prepared to risk 
anything on behalf of the rival dynasty ,^^ and Maredudd had 
to purchase peace by the payment of a fine of 1 0,000 cattle. 

The first advances of Gwynedd to the east were made 
across the Conway, into the regions of Rhos and Rhufoniog, 
lying between that river and the Clwyd. In 11 18 there had 
been an important change in the political situation in these 
cantrefs ; Hywel ab Ithel, who had long ruled them under the 
protection of Powys,^^ made war upon his neighbours, the sons 
of Owain ab Edwin, who were lords of the cantref of Dyffryn 
Clwyd,^^ Hywel brought Maredudd ap Bleddyn, with 400 
warriors from Powys, to his aid, while Gronw ab Owain and 
his brethren had the help of Norman knights from the lands of 
the Earl of Chester, which still extended as far as Rhuddlan, if 
not Degannwy. A bloody battle was fought at Maes Maen 
Cymro, a mile to the north-west of Ruthin,^* in which Hywel 

8 For this expedition see Ann. C. s.a. 1121 ; B.T. 146-50; B. Saes. s.a. 
1118; A.S. Chr. MS. E. s.a. 1121 ; Cont. Fl. Wig. s.a. 1121; Wm. Malm. 
G.R. 477 (628). B.T. tells how an arrow shot at random by one of Maredudd's 
skirmishers struck the king in the region of the heart, his coat of mail alone 
shielding him from instant death. It makes merry over his alarm, but a differ- 
ent complexion is put upon the affair by Wm. Malm., who says that Henry was 
firmly convinced that the shaft was sped by a traitor in the ranks of his own army. 

'^'^Sim. Dun. ii. 263. Earl Richard and his wife Matilda, sister of the 
future king Stephen, were drowned in the White Ship off Barfleur on 25th 
November, 1120 (Ann. Cest. s.a.\ Ord. Vit. x. 18; xii. 26; Wm. Malm. G.R. 
496-7 (654)). Richard's cousin, Ranulf of Bayeux, also known as " le Meschin " 
or " the younger," was raised to the earldom in 1121 [Ann. Cest. s.a. ; Ord. Vit. 
xii. 28 ; Rot. Norm. ii. p. cliv). The " sons of the king of the Welsh " were prob- 
ably Gruffydd and Hywel ap Maredudd, who died in 1128 and 1142 respectively ; 
the two castles burnt would be not far from Maelor. 

" So the Bruts ; here, as throughout the reign of Henry I., they take the 
standpoint of Powys, but this testimony is to be preferred to the vague assertions 
of Gruffydd's panegyrist (Buck. Gr. ap C. 126 (733)) as to his resolute resistance 
in 1121. 

^^See p. 416. 

'^ As the cantref contained three commotes (Dogfeiling or Rhuthyn, Llan- 
nerch and Coleion), it was easily divided between several lords. 

^■* Maes Maen Cymro is a township in the parish of Llanynys and lies, I am 
informed by Mr. Ezra Roberts of Ruthin, in the neighbourhood of Rhewl railway 
station. The battleground was thus on the border between Dyffryn Clwyd 
and Cymeirch (a commote of Rhufoniog). 


CHAP, and his forces won the day and Llywarch ab Owain was slain. 
But Hywel himself was severely wounded, and his death six 
weeks later turned the momentary victory into a real defeat. 
There would seem to have been no one of his line to take his 
place, and his overlord, the king of Powys, was not strong 
enough to annex the two cantrefs to his own realm. Accord- 
ingly, they fell into the grasp of the sons of Gruffydd ap 
Cynan, for, though this is not expressly stated in the chronicles, 
it is clearly implied in what is said of the further progress of 
Gwynedd to the east.^^ 

The next region in which they showed their strength was 
Meirionydd. This cantref, it has been seen,^^ was bestowed by 
Cadwgan ap Bleddyn, in the heyday of his power, upon 
Uchtryd ab Edwin, to be held as a vassal state of Powys, 
Uchtryd had not served his masters with particular fidelity, and, 
on the death of Owain in 1 1 1 6, he resolved to be free and be- 
gan to build at Cymer, the " confluence " of the Wnion and the 
Mawddach,^'' a castle which was to guarantee him his independ- 
ence. Einion ap Cadwgan and Gruffydd ap Maredudd at once 
took up the challenge, attacked Meirionydd, destroyed the new 
castle and drove Uchtryd into flight. So far as is known, he 
never regained the position of a lord of territory, but lived, a 
landless man, with his nephews in Dyff"ryn Clwyd.^^ Meir- 
ionydd was now made a part of the kingdom of Powys, and for 
seven years was governed by Einion ap Cadwgan. But on his 
death in 1123 quarrels arose among his kinsmen as to who 
should succeed him. Cadwallon and Owain,^^ the sons of 
Gruffydd ap Cynan, saw their opportunity and invaded the 
cantref in the interests of Gwynedd. Their first step was to 

i^It is to be borne in mind that the Llanbadarn chronicler is a partisan of 
Powys and records nothing which can redound to the credit of Gwynedd. 
Hence the story of the successes of the sons of Gruffydd has to be read into his 
narrative as an inevitable deduction from the plain facts. 

i^See p. 416. 

1^ " Upon a little bank near the monastery, called Y Pentre, once stood 
Castell Cymmer " (Robert Vaughan apud Camb. Reg. i. igoand Arch. Camb. II. 
i. (1850), 202). A tumulus marks the spot. 

^^ He was with them in the battle of Maes Maen Cymro. 

^^ First mentioned in this annal. " Kadwalladyr " (Bruts, 307) is a slip on 
the part of the scribe of the Red Book ; all the other texts, including Mostyn MS. 
116 (Evans, Rep. i. p. 59), have Cadwallon. The same mistake is made by this 
copyist in writing out the annal 1124. Cadwaladr was the youngest of the three 
brothers and does not appear until 1136, 


carry off the inhabitants and their property into their own C^^J'- 
territories, but this can only have been a temporary measure 
and must ere long have been followed by their definite occupa- 
tion of the district, from which Owain sallied forth in 1 1 36, when 
he opened his campaign against the Normans of Ceredigion. 
The men of Powys were too weak to retaliate upon them and 
could only punish their ally, Llywarch ap Trahaearn of Arwystli, 
who, as usual, had taken the side of the enemies of the house 
of Bleddyn. 

Dyffryn Clwyd next went the way of Rhos and Rhufoniog, 
In 1 1 24 Cadwallon, who was clearly as unscrupulous as he 
was energetic, slew the three rulers of the cantref, Gronw, 
Rhiryd, and Meilyr ab Owain, notwithstanding that they were 
his mother's brothers. The annexation of this region to 
Gwynedd no doubt immediately followed, for only thus can 
we account for the presence of Cadwallon some years later in 
the valley of the Dee and for the appearance in the following 
reign of Owain's men before Mold. Thus ended the house of 
Edwin of Tegeingl as a ruling dynasty ; it had striven to 
use its position in the border lands which parted Gwynedd 
from Powys so as to pit the one powerful neighbour against 
the other, and, like the Count of St. Pol, who played a 
similar part in the struggle between Louis XL and Charles 
the Bold, had earned the distrust of both. Between the 
upper and the nether millstone, it had been ground to 

In 1 1 32 the victorious career of Cadwallon came suddenly 
to a close. Still pressing eastward from the vantage-ground of 
his recent conquests, he was brought to a stand in the commote 
of Nanheudwy, not far from Llangollen,^^ and there defeated 
and slain by an army from Powys, in which his cousin, 
Cadwgan ap Gronw ab Owain, bore a part and thereby 
avenged his father's death. For a time a limit was set to the 
growth of Gwynedd and the men of Powys had a measure of 
relief But the work had substantially been done which was 
to make Owain, when he succeeded to his father's throne, the 
most powerful of the Welsh princes and Gwynedd the chief 

2" " Nanneudui " {Ann. C. MS. B.) ; " nanhevdwy" {B. Saes. s.a. 1129). 
Ann. Cest. mentions the death of "Cadwathlan " in battle s.a. 1132, but I can- 
not locate its " Wadiece ". 


CHAP, state of Wales. The author of the Life of Gruffydd ap CynaUy 
' at the close of his narrative, allows us to hear, above the clash 
of arms which fills the rest of his story, the piping notes of 
peace and of jocund plenty, as he tells of the prosperity of 
Gwynedd in these days of security from foreign alarms. No 
longer did men build and sow for the needs of a single year, 
with fear in their hearts that the raider from across the hills 
might at any moment give hut and harvest to the flames. 
They planted orchards and laid out gardens, set up fences and 
dug out ditches ; they ventured to build in stone and, in par- 
ticular, raised stone churches in place of the old timber ora- 
tories. Thus arose many an " Eglwys Wen " or " White Church," 
gleaming in its coat of limewash,^^ until, as the writer puts it, 
the face of Gwynedd was bespangled with them as is the firma- 
ment with stars ! Gruffydd himself built great churches in the 
principal royal manors, and, though none of these have survived 
the rebuilding which was so general in the later Middle Ages, 
the Norman doorway of Aberffraw may well be a relic of his 
work.^^ It was possibly his example which stirred up the re- 
ligious communities of Gwynedd to the renewing of their 
ancient sanctuaries and thus produced the Norman churches, 
still in a large measure intact, of Penmon, Aberdaron and 

When Gruffydd died in 1 137,'^^ he had thus the satisfaction 
of knowing that he bequeathed to his sons a wider and more 
prosperous realm than any it had been his lot to rule in earlier 
years. Old,'^* decrepit and blind, he had no personal share in 
the great upheaval which marked the last two years of his reign, 
but the successes of Owain and his young brother, Cadwaladr 
(who now appears upon the scene), were all the more grateful to 
him in that he knew them to rest for foundation upon his own 
labours in the day of small things. He made a pious and 
peaceful end, having around his death-bed Bishop David of 

21 For the whitewashing of churches see North. Old Churches of Arllech- 
wedd (Bangor, 1906), p. 83, and cf. Myv. Arch. I. 360 (249), where Llywelyn 
Fardd describes Towyn as 

" Eglwys wenn wyngalch wynhaed ". 

'^'^Arch. Camb. I. i. (1846), 62. 

2=1 The date comes from Ann. C. and the Brtits, the particulars from Bitch. 
Gr. ap C. 128 (734). 

24 <« Dwy flynedd a phetwar ugeint." 


Bangor, the archdeacon of the diocese, Simeon of Clynnog,^^ CHAP, 
and the Prior of St. Werburgh's, Chester, and leaving sums 
of money for the good of his soul to many notable churches 
of his own and other lands. 2" Among these he did not forget 
the Danish foundation of Christ Church, Dublin,^^ where he 
had worshipped as a boy. He left to his wife, who survived 
him twenty-five years,^^ a suitable maintenance, including the 
profits of the port and ferry of Aber Menai, the scene of many 
of his youthful adventures. Welsh sentiment forbade him to 
bestow the whole of his kingdom upon his eldest son, Owain, 
and thus a division with Cadwaladr took place which sacrificed 
the unity of Gwynedd and gave rise in course of time to serious 
disputes. His remains were laid to rest in a tomb erected in 
the presbytery of Bangor Cathedral, to the left of the high altar. 
So rested at last a man whose life had been troubled and stormy 
in no common degree. 

n. The Great Revolt. 

The great revolution in Welsh affairs which now took place 
was long remembered by the foreign settlers as a turning-point 
in the history of their adopted country. The day of Henry's 
death was for them as fateful as was for another aristocracy in 
a later age the day of the capture of the Bastille. Portents 
were believed to have marked it, such as startled the people of 
Elfael, where a lake and a reservoir both burst their banks on 
this ill-omened night.^^ It was reckoned a striking proof of the 
powers of divination possessed by the Flemings of Dyfed that 

25"Symeon archdiagon gwr addfed o oed a doethineb." He died in 1152 
(B. Saes. s.a. 1151, the " Kelynnawc " of which is to be preferred to the " Keuei- 
lawc"ofB.T. 180). In Cont. Fl. Wig. s.a. 1139, he appears as the spiritual 
adviser of Bishop David's successor, Meurig, who urged the new prelate not to 
swear fealty to the king of England. In 1148 Bernard of St. David's invites him, 
as a known sympathiser with the claims of that see, to support them in the forth- 
coming Council of Rheims (Gir. Camb. iii. 59). As in St. Asaph, there was at 
this time but one archdeacon in the diocese. 

26 Besides Dublin, the list includes St. Werburgh's, St. Peter's, Shrewsbury, 
St. David's, Bangor, Holyhead, Penmon, Clynnog, Bardsey, Meifod, Llanarmon 
(in Yale?) and Dineirth (Llandrillo in Rhos). Most of the Welsh churches 
named are known to have been ancient mother churches having a " clas ". 

27 Founded by Sitric of the Silken Beard, it is said, about 1040. 

28 See B.T. 196; B. Saes. s.a. 1161 = 1162. 

29 Gir. Camb. vi. 19 (Itin. i. i). Hoare {Itin. i. 6) suggests that the lake was 
Llyn Bychllyn, near Llanbedr Painscastle. 

VOL. II. 8 


CHAP, many of them, six and even twelve months previously, had read 
' the signs of the coming storm, and had thereupon without hesi- 
tation sold all they had and quitted the doomed colonies, where 
as yet no cloud appeared above the horizon.^** 

It was immediately after the coronation of Stephen that the 
first outburst took place. Hywel ap Maredudd, a Welsh chief 
who had retained some authority in the western parts of Bry- 
cheiniog, gathered an army in this district and descended upon 
the plains of Gower, a region in which not only Norman, but 
also English colonists had settled in great numbers under the 
protection of the Earls of Warwick. Somewhere between 
Loughor and Swansea a battle was fought on the i st of Janu- 
ary, 1 1 36, in which the Welsh had their first taste of victory, 
killing over 500 of their adversaries.^^ It was the signal for a 
general uprising throughout South Wales. Gruffydd ap Rhys 
now saw the opening for which he had long waited, and, realis- 
ing that the crisis called for something more than local action, 
and was, in fact, a national opportunity, he made his way with 
all speed to Gwynedd and appealed to the sons of Gruffydd ap 
Cynan to help him in the endeavour to rid Deheubarth of its 
foreign oppressors. Meanwhile, his wife Gwenllian, who was 
a daughter of the king of Gwynedd, took the field against the 
foreigner and marched against the castle and town ot Kidwelly. 
This romantic adventure had a tragic end ; a little north of the 
town she was met by Maurice of London, now lord of the dis- 
trict, and totally routed ; she herself was slain and with her her 
young son Morgan, while another, Maelgwn, was taken prisoner. ^^ 
She had chosen to play a part which, in Wales, as in other 
Christian lands, was deemed unfitting to her sex, but patriotism 
has lovingly preserved her memory in the name, still borne by 
the battlefield, of Maes Gwenllian.^^ 

The Kidwelly victory was, however, but a casual triumph 

30 Gir. Camb. vi. 88 {Itin. i. ii). 

aiCont. Fl. Wig. s.a. 1136, MS. G.; Gesta St. 11 (10); Gir. Camb. vi. 78 
(Itin. i. 9), whose "Anglos de finibus illis" is evidence of the existence of an 
English colony. The Bruts carefully distinguish Hywel ap Maredudd of Brych- 
einiog from his namesake (grandson of Rhydderch ap Caradog) of Cantref Bychan. 

^^ Gir. Camb. vi. 79 {Itin. i. 9). For Gwenllian and her children see Jesus 
Coll. MS. 20 in Cymr. viii. 88 (No. xxv.). The mention of " Gaufrido praesulis 
constabulario " would almost seem to imply that Bishop Roger had, while parting 
with the lordship, retained his hold of the castle. See p. 429. 

33 Hoare, Itin. i. i68. 


for the Anelo-Norman forces, and soon there followed an event CHAP, 


which had the most disastrous consequences for them.^* 
Richard fitz Gilbert, the powerful lord of Ceredigion, was with 
King Stephen in the early part of the year, but, having failed 
to extort from him the concessions he desired, returned in anger 
to the marches of Wales. Upon reaching Abergavenny, on 
15th April, he was warned by Brian fitz Count, ruler of Upper 
Gwent, of the dangerous state of the country, and offered an 
escort as far as Brecon. But Richard would have no help ; 
long years of unquestioned supremacy had bred in him an over- 
weening confidence, and when the thick woods of Coed Grwyne 
were reached, on the borders between Gwent and Brycheiniog, 
he dismissed Brian and his knights and rode unarmed with a 
few followers into the forest. The tale was even told that he 
bade a fiddler and a minstrel play and sing before him as he 
went, so that all might see with how light a heart he undertook 
this journey. He had not gone far ere he fell into an ambush 
set for him by the Welshmen of Gwent under lorwerth ab 
Owain, grandson of the Caradog ap Gruffydd who was so 
powerful in this district in the days of the Conqueror. He and 
his company were soon cut down, and the tidings spread apace 
that the mightiest of the Norman magnates of Western Wales 
had been laid low by the prowess of the insurgents. 

No sooner did the news reach Gwynedd than Owain and 
Cadwaladr prepared to invade Ceredigion, which had been thus 
bereft of its lord. They were already established in Meirionydd, 
on the northern side of the Dovey estuary,^^ and the fact that 
Ceredigion had formerly belonged, not to Gwynedd, but to 
Deheubarth, did not, it may be regarded as certain, delay their 
advance for a single moment. They entered the province from 

8* Cont. Fl.Wig. s.a. 1136, MS.G. ; Gesta Si. 12 (lo-ii) ; Gir. Camb. vi. 
47-8 {Itin. i. 4), whose account, as it is the fullest, so also seems the most reason- 
able (except for the fiddling incident, which may be an embellishment of oral 
tradition). Ann. C. MS. B. and the Bruts make Morgan ab Owain, lorwerth's 
elder brother, the doer of the deed ; he probably laid the plan which his brother 
executed. For the ancestry of both see B.T. 210. The "evil pass " of " Coit 
Wroneu " must have been near the point where the Grwyne crosses the direct 
route from Brecon to Abergavenny ; for it seems clear that Giraldus and Baldwin 
followed this road. Hoare's assumption (Itin. i. 93) that they went round by 
Talgarth is unsupported by any evidence. His " Coed Dias " is, therefore, too 
far to the north ; moreover '* dias " = vengeance is not Welsh, and the true name 
of the spot is Coed Euas = the Wood of Ewias (Owen, Pemb. i. 199). 

»» See p. 467. 



CHAP, the north, and soon stormed and burnt the castles of Walter 
^^^^' de Bee at Llanfihangel ^*^ and of the Clares at Aberystwyth. 
How they dealt with Llanbadarn is not on record, but the 
sudden change at this point in the attitude of the Llanbadarn 
chronicler is full of significance ; whereas under Henry I. he 
reserves his praises for the chieftains of Powys and towards the 
end of the reign grows perfunctory and lifeless in his notices, 
the entry of Owain and Cadwaladr is hailed by him with trans- 
ports of delight and they are lauded to the skies as " two bold 
lions, virtuous, fearless and wise, who guard the churches and 
their indwellers, defend the poor and overcome their enemies, 
affording a safest retreat to all who seek their protection "}" 
The two princes, it is clear, treated with respect the property 
of Llanbadarn, while at the same time restoring to its former 
position the Welsh element which had been dislodged to make 
room for the monks of Gloucester. ^^ Marching southward, 
they were joined by Hywel ap Maredudd of Cantref Bychan 
and Madog ab Idnerth ^^ of Rhwng Gwy a Hafren and took 
three more castles, that of Richard de la Mare, of unknown 
situation, that of Dineirth, possibly near Llanbadarn Tref- 
eglwys,*" and that of Caerwedros, at Llwyn Dafydd.^^ They 
had now collected an embarrassing amount of plunder and 
returned home to dispose of it before undertaking further 

It was not long, however, ere they reappeared upon the 
scene. About Michaelmas they again invaded the province, 
accompanied not only by the princes who had been with them 
in the earlier part of the year, but also by Gruffydd ap Rhys *^ 
All the Welshmen of Central Wales were in their train, includ- 
ing not only foot soldiers innumerable, but also many hundreds 
of well-armed horsemen, for the Welsh had now learnt the 
arts of knighthood from their Norman masters and could 
put heavy cavalry in the field as well as the old national in- 
fantry.^^ The host made straight for Cardigan, the principal 
castle of the province, hoping by its capture to complete the 

36 See note 86 to chap. xii. ^'^ Bruts, 309. *^ See p. 432. 

3» See note 31 to chap. xii. **> Meyrick, Card. (2), 262. ^^ Ibid. p. 233. 

*^ Ann. C. and Bruts ; Cont. Fl. Wig. s.a. 1136 ; Gesta St. 12-13 (11-12) ; 
Gir. Camb. vi. 118 {I tin. ii. 3). 

*3 '• Gens haec . . . armis ... at equis a Normannis et Anglis . . . edocta 
paulatim et assueta" (Gir. Camb. vi. 218 {Descr. ii. 7)). 


conquest of Ceredigion, but was confronted at Crug Mawr,** CHAP, 
two miles out of the town, by an army gathered out of all parts 
of Norman South Wales. Stephen, the constable of the castle, 
Robert fitz Martin, lord of Cemais, William and Maurice, sons 
of Gerald of Windsor, were the leaders of the Norman array,*^ 
and an obstinate battle was fought, upon the issue of which 
hinged the fortunes of the foreigners in Deheubarth for many 
a long day. It was a signal victory for the Welsh, who drove 
their enemies from the field, pursued them to the river Teifi, 
and set fire to the town ; the bridge across the river was broken, 
possibly by the weight of the fugitives who crowded in wildest 
terror across it in their efforts to gain a safe hiding-place in 
Cemais, and hundreds who escaped the sword met their death 
by drowning, until the stream was clogged with the bodies of 
men and of horses. Those who fled to the town were not 
more fortunate ; they perished in the general conflagration, 
which swept away, among other buildings, the church of Holy 
Trinity founded by the colonists.^*' Only the castle stood in- 
tact *^ and afforded a refuge to a small company of Richard 
fitz Gilbert's people, including his widow, a sister of the Earl of 
Chester. Elsewhere, all was at the mercy of the Welsh, who 
pitilessly ravaged the country, carrying off to their homes, and 
especially to Gwynedd, at the close of the campaign captive 
women in great numbers and other spoil on which they set 
special value, in particular, arms and armour and costly apparel. 
The failure to take the- castle illustrates the strength in this 
age of defensive works and the advantage which in ordinary 
times the Normans had over their foes as the builders of 

^^ This "great mound" is a knoll, now commonly called Banc y Warren, 
close to the road from Aberaeron to Cardigan. " Cruc maur " in " Cereticiaun " 
is one of the mirabilia of Nennius {Hist. Britt. c. 74). 

•»5 MS. B. of B.T. adds"Gwilym ap Ore" (p. 158— c/. B. Sues. " William 
vab ..." and Powel, 138, " William Fitziohn "), which may possibly be for 
" WiUelmus filius Odonis," i.e., William de Barri of Manorbier. 

■*^ See Gesta St. for the burning of " templa". According to Cart, Glouc. 
ii. 74, 76, Gilbert fitz Richard gave the church " sanctae Trinitatis de Kardigan " 
to St. Peter's, Gloucester, and the donation was confirmed by Henry II. The 
dedication points to a Norman foundation, the old church of the district being 
probably Llangoedmor. Meyrick's statement (176) that a son of Brychan named 
Mathaiarn was buried at Cardigan rests on a mistranslation of the " Ceredigion " 
oflolo MSS. 119. 

*'' This is expressly stated by i4 MM. C. MS. B. (" castello Francis remanente ") 
and explains the account in Gesta St, 


CHAP, massive keeps of stone. Under Henry I. the victory of Crug 
Mawr would have availed the Welsh but little, for the garrison 
of Cardigan would have held out until it was relieved by a 
royal force bent on summary vengeance. The new fact in the 
situation was the loss by the Crown of its hold over the great 
barons ; suspicion and mistrust, though it had not yet broken 
out into open hostility, parted Stephen and the magnates of 
the West, so that joint action against the Welsh on anything 
like an effective scale was impossible for them. In the present 
case, the king, moved by the perilous plight of the lady of 
Ceredigion, besought Miles of Gloucester to strike across 
country from his castle of Brecon and bring her in safety to 
England, but, though this commission was duly executed, no 
further measures were taken by the rescuer than were necessary 
to his task, in spite of his very direct interest as a marcher 
lord in the restoration of the old order in Wales. It was much 
the same with the expedition fitted out by Stephen a little 
later for the reconquest of Ceredigion ; he entrusted the matter 
to a deputy, who took it up without enthusiasm and abandoned 
it as soon as it began to present difficulties. Baldwin was 
Richard fitz Gilbert's brother *^ and had thus a family interest 
in winning back the derelict lordship ; he was supplied with 
light-armed knights and with 500 archers at the royal expense. 
But he got no further than Brecon ; here terrible accounts 
reached him of the fury and determination of the insurgents, 
who had by means of felled trees rendered impassable all the 
roads leading across the mountains to Cantref Bychan and 
were awaiting his approach. He dallied among the men of Miles 
of Gloucester in the vain hope that the obstacles before him 
would in time melt away, and then, having spent his allowance, 
returned ignobly to England. Robert fitz Harold of Ewias,^^ 
despatched to a different part of Wales, showed a bolder and 

*^ For Baldwin see Geoff. Mand. 148 ; Feudal England, p. 474. 

^"^ " Robertus filius Heraldi" {Gesta St. 14 (13)) is, no doubt, as suggested 
by Clark {Med. Mil. Arch. ii. 43), Robert of Ewias, the founder in 1147 of the 
Cistercian abbey of Dore and the benefactor of his father's foundation of Ewias 
Harold {Cart. Glouc. i. 287). He was the son of Harold of Ewias, who may be 
safely identified with the " Heraldus filius Radulfi comitis (of Hereford) " of 
Domesd. i. 169a (2). On the death of Alfred of Marlborough, Harold had 
obtained his castle and lordship in South-western Herefordshire (see page 396 
above), which thus came to be called Ewias Harold by way of distinction from 
the more westerly Ewias Lacy, 


more resolute spirit, but he achieved no permanent success, chap 
and Stephen in his discouragement abandoned the idea of 
further expeditions and left the Welsh to themselves, cherishing 
the comfortable hope that they would fall a prey to civil discord 
and the evils incident to a life of idleness and rapine. 

With such a spirit prevailing in the high counsels of the 
realm, it is not surprising that the Welsh revolt grew more 
formidable day by day. In 1 137 Gruffydd ap Rhys turned his 
attention to Dyfed and swept across the cantref of Rhos, now 
largely occupied by Flemish settlers.^^ An incident of the 
campaign was the killing by Gruffydd's eldest son, Anarawd, 
of Letard Little King, a Fleming whose name is preserved in 
that of Letterston ^^ and who was clearly a man of mark in the 
district. The deed was done without the sanction or knowledge 
of Gruffydd, but the St. David's chronicler approves it as having 
rid the world of an " enemy of God and St. David," who had 
no doubt earned the title by attacks upon the rights of the 
cathedral clergy in the cantref of Pebidiog. Very shortly 
afterwards Gruffydd himself died, at about the same time as 
his namesake of the North, but under very different circum- 
stances. He was no veteran laying down his armour after a 
well-fought day and entrusting to other tried and seasoned 
warriors the standard he could no longer hold. He was cut 
off in the flower of life,^^ when fortune was but beginning to 
smile upon him and when as yet his young sons were unfit 
to bear the burden which fate thus thrust upon them. The 
eldest two, Anarawd and Cadell, were just of an age to take 
a part in the warlike activities of the time, but the sons of 
Gwenllian, Maredudd and Rhys, were children of tender years.^^ 

Nevertheless, there was no pause in the South Welsh 
movement. O wain and Cadwaladr appeared in 11 37 for the 

5** Besides Ann. C. MS. B., this raid is also mentioned by Ann. Marg. s.a. 

•'^ Letterston (which is in Pebidiog) appears as " Lettardistoune " in Blk. 
Bk. 0/ St. David's, 137 (cf. 95, 97, 139), as " Villa Becard " (for Letard) in Tax. 
Nich. 275a, and as "Tre Letert " in Pen. MS. 147 (Evans, Rep. i. p. 917). Ivo 
" filius Letardi " gave the church of Letterston to the preceptory of Slebech 
(Owen, Pemb. i. 353 ; Fenton (2), 347). 

"''Cont. FI. Wig. says " dolo conjugis suae circumventus " ; Ann. C. and 
the Bruts give no details. 

®^ Maredudd was in his twenty-fifth year when he died in 1155 {B.T. 182) 
and was, therefore, born in 1130 or 1131, while Rhys was still younger (" Resus 
. . . junior" — Ann. C. MS. B. s.a. 1156 = 1155). 


CHAP, third time in Ceredigion, and, taking the eastern instead of the 
western route, destroyed in succession the castles of Ystrad 
Meurig, Lampeter (if this indeed was " Stephen's Castle ") ^* 
and Castell Hywel, then known as Humphrey's Castle. Em- 
boldened by their success, they crossed the Teifi and made for 
Carmarthen ; the capture of this important royal stronghold 
was the climax of their victories and placed the whole valley of 
the Towy in their power. It is noteworthy, however, that no 
further advances were made in this direction ; that prudent 
and cautious temper which governed all the enterprises of 
Owain was perhaps at work in this instance, leading to a con- 
centration of effort upon the conquest of Ceredigion and its 
annexation to Gwynedd. In 1138 the two Northern princes, 
aided by Anarawd and Cadell ap Gruffydd, brought a Danish 
fleet of fifteen ships into the mouth of the Teifi, so as to 
besiege by land and sea the little force which still held out 
obstinately in Cardigan Castle.^^ It was not a successful 
expedient ; the garrison were able to beat off the attack, and 
the Danes, who were no doubt from Dublin, indemnified them- 
selves by sacking the monastic settlement at St. Dogmael's, 
on the other side of the river. The castle was not, in fact, 
captured for many years ; in the meantime, Ceredigion was 
divided between the princes of Gwynedd. To Cadwaladr was 
assigned the northern half, from the Aeron to the Dovey, which 
he ruled from the castle of Aberystwyth ; a natural son of 
Owain, named Hywel, who was of age to fend for himself, 
received the southern half and thus held a post, of danger 
which was well fitted to put his valour to the proof. Owain 
himself, as the eldest son of the late king of Gwynedd, had 
now serious responsibilities at home and is heard of no more in 
immediate connection with the affairs of Ceredigion. 

In consequence of the Llanbadarn origin of the only Welsh 
record of this period, the story of the conquest of Ceredigion is 
one which it is possible to tell with some fulness, but there is 

^^ See notes 87 and 88 to chap. xii. 

55 Only MS. C. of Ann. C. has this notice ; the Bruts have dropped the year 
altogether, and accordingly B, Saes., which is a year behind in its dating of the 
events of 1 135-7, is two years in arrear from 1138 to 1140, which it divides into 
two (1138 and 1139), thus returning to the old position. The eclipse of 20th 
March, 1140, is perhaps assigned to 1137 (=1139) because the chronicler's year 
did not end until 25th March, 


every reason to suppose that, far from standing alone, it is but CHAP, 
typical of what was going on throughout Wales during this 
season of revolution. Scattered references to the revolt confirm 
the impression that it extended to almost every part of the 
country. The annals of Chester relate that on 3rd March, 
1 1 40, the castle of Bromfeld, which probably stood at Marford 
or Wrexham,^^ was burnt, as a result, it scarcely admits of 
doubt, of the activity of the men of Powys. Further to the 
south the castle of Cause was taken by the same agency,^'^ and 
it was no doubt in this region that Payn fitz John, Sheriff of 
Shropshire and of Herefordshire, was on the lOth of July, 
1 137, pierced through the head and slain, as he was pursuing a 
band of Welshmen. ^^ What is said by the chronicles as to 
the reconquest of Elfael and Maelienydd in 1 144 by Hugh 
Mortimer implies that earlier in the reign the Welsh had been 
busy in this district also, where they were no doubt led by the 
local chieftain, Madog ab Idnerth, and his sons.*^^ In Bryche- 
iniog, though Miles of Gloucester kept his hold of the province, 
a great devastation by Hywel ap Maredudd is recorded.^" In 
Cantref Bychan, the other magnate of that name, son of 
Maredudd ap Rhydderch, was in full revolt, and the Clifford 
family, now represented by Walter, son of Richard fitz Pons, 
lost all authority in the region of Llandovery. "^^ Even in the 

^^Ann. Cest. Marford and Wrexham (which appear as "merfort" and 
" Vnknan " in Dom. viii. fo. 119a) were the heads of the two commotes into 
which Bromfield or Maelor was divided when it came under Welsh rule. 

^"^ Ord. Vit. xiii. 16 (V. 43). The event appears to be assigned to 1134, but 
it is far more likely that the author is describing what took place after Henry's 
death than that he should be recording an otherwise unknown revolt of that 
king's last days. The castle of " Caus," the "Alretone" of Domesd. i. 2536, 
belonged to the Corbet family and could only have been held temporarily by Payn 
(Eyton, Shrops. vii. pp. 5, 10). 

58Cont. FI. Wig. s.a. 1137; Gesta St. 16-17 (i5)> with editor's note. His 
possessions passed to Roger, eldest son of Miles of Hereford, who had married his 
eldest daughter, Cecilia (Round, Anc. Charters, pp. 35-8). 

^9 Madog ab Idnerth died in 1140. Two of his sons, viz., Hywel and 
Cadwgan, were slain in 1142 by Helias of Say (Ann, C. MS. C. s.a.), who was 
lord of Clun (Eyton, Shrops. xi. p. 228). A third, Maredudd, was killed by Hugh 
Mortimer in 1146. The remaining two, Cadwallon and Einion, lived to rule over 
Maelienydd and Elfael respectively. 

6" Gir. Camb. vi. 21 (Itin. i. 2). This Hywel ap Maredudd (unless he be 
H. ap M. ap Bleddyn, slain in 1142) is not heard of after 1136, though his sons 
Maredudd (d. 1140) and Rhys (see Ann. C. s.a. 1145 and 1148 = 1147) are 
several times mentioned. 

"1 H. ap M. of Cantref Bychan (for his father see pp. 429 and 434 above) 
was killed in 1141 by Rhys ap Hywel of Brycheiniog, and with him ended, so far 


CHAP, valley of the lower Usk, lying in the midst of the sphere of 
influence of Earl Robert of Gloucester, Morgan ab Owain was 
bold and aggressive ; he seized the castle of Usk "^ and con- 
trived in the confusion of the time to make himself lord of 

As the tide of revolt rose, the intervention of the English 
crown, the only power able to cope with it, became less and 
less likely. The landing of the Empress Matilda, daughter of 
Henry I., on 30th September, 1 1 39, at Arundel in Sussex,*'* 
opened an era of civil war, a time of strife during which the 
energies of the great men of the realm were almost fully 
occupied in their mutual hostilities, so that measures against 
the Welsh were only possible when a particular baron, having 
for the moment no domestic feud upon his hands, was able to 
devote a little individual attention to minor operations against 
them. The marcher lords were nearly all partisans of the 
Empress, following in this respect the example of their leader, 
Earl Robert of Gloucester, who was Matilda's half-brother. 
Miles of Gloucester was one of her most ardent supporters, and 
was rewarded in 1141 by the revival for his benefit of the 
Earldom of Hereford.*^ On the same side were Earl Roger 
of Warwick,**® Brian fitz Count,**^ Robert fitz Martin,**^ and 
William fitz Alan,®^ while Bishop Bernard of St. David's 
was one of the few prelates in constant attendance upon 
Matilda.'^*' These names account for Glamorgan, Brecknock, 
Gower, Ewias,^^ Upper Gwent, Cemais, Oswestry and Pebidiog, 

as is known, this branch of the posterity of Rhydderch ab lestyn. Richard fitz 
Pons is last heard of in 1128 {Lih. hand. 37). For his son Walter, who took the 
surname of Clifford from the home of the family, see Diet. Nat. Biog. xi. p. 81 ; 
Round, Arte. Charters, pp. 21, 24. 

''^Ord. Vit. xiii. 37 (V. no), where Le Prevost reads " Morgan Gualus {i.e., 
Wallensis) Ucham (tenuit) ". For Morgan's connections see note 34. 

^3 He is found in this position at the accession of Henry II., when the sheriff 
of Gloucester is allowed an annual deduction of 40s. for crown lands granted to 
" Morgan " in " Carliun " (Pipe Roll, 2 Hen. II. 49). " Morganus filius Oweni et 
Jorwerd frater ejus " were donors to Goldcliff Priory about 1140 (Charter Rolls, ii. 


^* Geoff. Mand. 278-83. *»Rymer, i. 14; Geoff. Mand. 123-4. 

86 Gesta St. 73 (74), 80 (81). 

6'? Wm. Malm. H.N. 556 (725), 573 (743) ; Geoff. Mand. 82. 

68 Geoff. Mand. 94, 135. 

69 0rd. Vit. xiii. 37 (V. 112-13) ; Geoff. Mand. 123, 125, 418. 
" Geoff. Mand. 82-3. " See note 58 above. 


so that it is not surprising that, in the absence of any sub- CHAP. 


stantial support of Stephen in the West, Earl Robert should 
have been able, as an unfriendly chronicler admits, to preserve 
in this region a " semblance of peace "7^ Gilbert fitz Gilbert, 
brother of the late lord of Ceredigion, was at first attached to the 
cause of Stephen, who conferred upon him in 1138 the title of 
Earl of Pembroke/^ But he did not appear in West Wales for 
many years after his elevation to this dignity, and in the mean- 
time had ceased to be of the king's party/* Ranulf, Earl of 
Chester, who had succeeded to the lands and dignities of his 
father, Ranulf of Bayeux, on the death of the latter, in 1128,^^ 
played consistently for his own hand, but in doing so was 
more often found with Matilda than with Stephen. Thus the 
magnates who were concerned with Wales were substantially of 
one accord in their support of the Empress and were able to 
keep the war out of the Welsh borders. Nevertheless, its 
existence was an effectual bar to any scheme of reconquest ; so 
far as can be seen, the first important successes against the 
Welsh were won in 11 44, when Hugh Mortimer of Wigmore 
regained Maelienydd and Elfael, and in 1145, when Earl 
Gilbert came to Dyfed and rebuilt the castle of Carmarthen. 
The year 1146 supplies a concrete instance of the mutual 
distrust which during this reign tied the hands of the English 
and gave the Welsh their opportunity. Earl Ranulf, hard 
pressed at this time by the vigorous onslaughts of the men of 
Gwynedd, appealed to Stephen for support, hoping that, as in 
1 1 14, a King of England and an Earl of Chester might again 
march together into the wilderness of Snowdon and bring the 
Welsh insurgents to their knees.''^^ Stephen was at first dis- 
posed to accede to this request, but a hostile faction at his 
court at once raised a great outcry, alleging that the scheme 
was a traitorous plot on the earl's part to get the king into his 
power. Nothing, they asserted, could be more dangerous to 
the royal person than this madcap expedition into a land of 
forests and mountains, destitute of food and water for the 

'^''■Gesia St. 97 (94 "umbra quaedam pacis"). 

73 Ord. Vit. xiii. 37 (V. 112). ""^ Geoff. Mand. 178. 

''^ Ann. Cest. s.a. According to John of Hexham {Sim. Dun. ii. 287), Ranulf 
had narrowly escaped capture by the Welsh in 1137. 

'8 Gesta St. 123-5 {121-3), where the story is told from the court point of view. 
Qf. Hen, Hunt. 279; Ann. Cest. s.a. 1146. 


CHAP, needs of an army and inhabited by an enemy whose wiles none 
could foresee. Instead of receiving in his defence of the fron- 
tier the assistance of a royal army, the earl was decoyed to 
court and then thrown into prison ; the sequel was the capture 
by Owain at the close of the year of the Cheshire fortress of 
Mold. While party spirit reigned through the length and 
breadth of England, the Welsh had nothing to fear, and they 
succeeded in winning during these years advantages which 
they did not again lose until the extinction of Welsh independ- 

III. The National Awakening and the Church. 

The Welsh revolt naturally had its effect upon the Welsh 
Church. It is true that in this domain the results achieved 
were not so striking as in the secular sphere, but the new spirit 
of independence nevertheless made itself felt, leading to 
struggles which, though in the main fruitless, kept alive the 
tradition of freedom. The work of Henry I. was not undone, 
but claims were advanced and hotly defended which had the 
value of preserving the old conception of a Welsh national 

It is uncertain when Bishop Bernard first put forward the 
claim of St. David's to be the metropolitan see of Wales, and 
his own right, in consequence, to rank as archbishop side by 
side with the prelates of Canterbury and York.^" The oldest 
document bearing upon the subject is a letter addressed by the 
canons of St. David's to Honorius II. (1124-30),^^ in which 

'^ Almost all that is known of the history of Bernard's suit is derived from 
the works of Gir. Camb., who carried on the struggle a couple of generations later. 
Gerald was an unscrupulous combatant, but there is no reason to think that this 
part of his narrative is untrustworthy, and I have in the main adhered to it. The 
view of H. and St. (i. 317 ; cf. also 344), that Bernard "held his peace . . . un- 
til the death of his patron Henry I.," is based on too rigid an interpretation of 
"post annos . . . circiter viginti, defuncto rege " in Gir. Camb. iii. 49 {Invecf. 
ii. i). In the earliest account given by Giraldus of the matter, it is stated in 
the clearest terms that Bernard first moved in the time of Henry; see vi. 106 
{Itin.ii. i). The passage was written in 1191 (editor's pref. pp. xxxiii-vi) and is 
repeated in iii. 152-3 {Men. Eccl. ii), in a work composed a quarter of a century 

"8 Gir. Camb. iii. 59-60 {Invect. ii. 10). Cf. the life of David fitz Gerald, in 
which it is said that Bernard prosecuted his claim " temporibus Honorii, Lucii, 
et Innocentii paparum " {ibid. iii. 431). I know of no evidence that the matter 
was raised under Calixtus II. (Jones and Freem. 278). 


the story is told which afterwards became so familiar, of the CHAP. 


transference of the archiepiscopal pall held by St. David and 
his successors to Brittany by Archbishop Samson at the time 
of the Yellow Plague, whereby the Menevian Church lost this 
outward sign of its primacy among the churches of Wales. '^^ 
It seems likely that this letter was written with the concurrence 
of Bernard, who may, therefore, be taken to have raised the 
matter during the lifetime of Henry I. On the other hand, it 
is scarcely probable that so assiduous a courtier pressed his 
claim with vigour while Henry was alive, and it was clearly the 
general upheaval in Wales after li 3 5 which encouraged him to 
embark, as he did, on a resolute campaign on behalf of the 
ecclesiastical independence of Wales. He commenced opera- 
tions during the pontificate of Innocent II. (1130-43)^" and 
had by the year 1 1 40 won such a reputation as a patriot as in- 
duced Owain and Cadwaladr to appeal to him to support them 
in their opposition to the promotion of Meurig to the see of 
Bangor.®^ He carried on the war under Lucius II. (March, 
1 144, to February, 1 145), who wrote from the Lateran on 14th 
May in a favourable strain and promised that papal legates 
about to visit England should go carefully into the case.^^ He 
continued it under Eugenius III. (1145-53), whom the cathe- 
dral chapter approached on the subject immediately after his 
election. ^'^ At one point in the struggle Bernard seems to have 
obtained the coveted dignity, but some flaw in procedure led to 
the immediate reversal of the decision in his favour.^* The 
matter was finally fought out, so far as Bernard himself was 
concerned, in the year 1 147, when Theobald of Canterbury and 
the bishop of St. David's argued their case in the presence of 
Eugenius at Meaux.^^ Bernard maintained not only the his- 

''^For an analysis of the St. David's claim see note appended to this 

^^ Gir. Camb. iii. 58 (Invect. ii. 7). 

^^Ibid. 59 (ii. 9). For the circumstances see p. 483. 

82/iid. 52-3 (ii. 3), 187 (Men. Eccl. iii.). ^'^ Ibid. 56-8 (ii. 6). 

** According to Hen. Hunt. (lo), "tempore . . . nostro recepit episcopus 
S. David pallium a papa, quod scilicet fuerat olim apud Kairlegion, sed statim 
tamen amisit ". 

"^Gir. Camb. iii. 50, 51-2, {Invect. ii. i, 2,), 180-1 {Men. Eccl. ii.). Jaff6 is 
clearly right (ii. 45), as against H. and St. (i. 354-5), in assigning the pope's 
letter to 1147, since in June, 1148, Eugenius was passing through Burgundy on 
his way back to Italy. The letter to Simeon (Gir. iii. 59) is evidence, at the same 


CHAP, toric liberty of his see, but also his own freedom from any 
obligation to the English primate. This was a contention 
soon disposed of; Bishop Robert of Bath was able to testify 
that in 1 1 1 5 there had been complete submission to the claims 
of Canterbury, and that Bernard's zeal on behalf of the rights of 
his church was a comparatively recent affair. On the 29th of 
June the Pope wrote to say that the appellant had lost his own 
case, but that it was still open to him to prosecute the claim of 
his see ; 1 8th October, 1 148, was assigned for the adjourned 
hearing of the suit. 

For Bernard, however, the contest was at an end ; in the 
summer or early autumn of 1148 he died,^" and the dispute 
entered upon a new phase, it being now the object of the 
Canterbury party to obtain the election of a successor who 
would let the whole matter rest.^''^ The Welsh canons, deter- 
mined to use their advantage to the utmost, made choice of a 
man upon whom they could depend to keep the question of the 
metropolitanate well to the front. But the delegates whom 
they sent to England abandoned the cause and were induced 
to elect instead David fitz Gerald, son of the castellan of 
Pembroke, who was already a member of the chapter as arch- 
deacon of Ceredigion. This was a clear victory for the English, 
for, though David was, on the mother's side, of Welsh descent,^^ 
and a partial concession was thus made to Welsh national feel- 
ing, he not only professed obedience in the fullest terms to the 
see of Canterbur}', but took an oath specially tendered to him, 
engaging not to raise in any form the vexed question of the 
rights of St. David's. Thus secured against attack, Theobald 
consecrated him at Christ Church, Canterbury, on 19th Decem- 
ber, 1 148, and as he was easy-going and unadventurous, of a 
wholly different type to the restless, enterprising Bernard, the 
matter of the metropolitanate slumbered for many years. His 

time, of Bernard's intention to raise the matter at the Council of Rheims in 
March, 1148. For the testimony of the bishop of Bath see H. and St. i. 353-4; 
as he had been a monk (Cont. Fl. Wig. 5.a. 1134), he is no doubt the " monachus 
falsus " of the life of David fitz Gerald (Gir. Camb. iii. 431). 

^^The chronology oi Ann. C. is here in disorder, but the 1147 of B. Sues. 
and B.T. 176 clearly = 1148, which is also the year given by Ann. Theokesb. 

^"^ B.T. 176; Gir. Camb. iii. 50 {Invect. ii. i), 154-5 (Men. Eccl. ii.), 431; 
H. and St. i. 355-6 ; Reg. Sacr. (2), 47. 

8* See p. 416. 


nephew, Giraldus Cambrensis, makes the most of his freedom CHAP, 

from greed and ambition, but has to admit that under his rule 

the spoliation of the lands of the bishopric still continued. The 
hostile critic, probably a Welshman, who has left a brief record 
of his impressions of this episcopate, is more severe ; ^^ he gives 
a long list of possessions alienated by David from the see and 
asserts that the doors of the cathedral were closed during the 
greater part of his period of office. 

The spirit of the times manifested itself at Bangor also, 
where a vacancy arose on the death of Bishop David, who did 
not long survive his lord, Gruffydd ap Cynan.^° A Welshman 
named Meurig, or Maurice,^^ was elected to the see, and early 
in December, 11 39, was presented to King Stephen at Wor- 
cester by the bishops of Hereford and Chichester as the choice 
of the clergy and people of the diocese. ^^ At this stage, how- 
ever, a hitch arose ; Meurig informed his introducers that he 
was not prepared to swear fealty to the king, having been for- 
bidden to do so by a man for whom he had the profoundest 
veneration, his predecessor's archdeacon. It would appear that 
this cleric, Simeon of Clynnog,®^ was at Bangor the power be- 
hind the episcopal throne. Meurig possessed no great force of 
character and his scruples were soon overborne ; he not only 
swore fealty to the king, but made a full submission to Canter- 
bury,^* and in 11 40 was consecrated by Theobald.®^ In conse- 
quence of this surrender, or for some other reason, he incurred 
the displeasure of Owain and Cadwaladr, who wrote to Bishop 
Bernard alleging that he had entered the church of St. Daniel 
as a thief, and not by the door, and asking for a conference on 
the subject at Aberdovey on 1st November, to which the young 

^® The " Vita Davidis II. episcopi Menevensis " is printed from Domitian i. 
in Ang. Sac. ii. 652-3 and Gir. Camb. iii. 431-4. Brewer thought it might be by 
Gir. (Pref. to vol. iii. p. xlvii), but Wharton well brings out the difference of atti- 
tude (Pref. to Ang. Sac. ii. p. xxvi). 

*" He is last mentioned in connection with Gruffydd's death — see p. 468. 

'1 " Meuruc " (Bruts, 322) may, of course, be an attempt to give a Welsh 
dress to a foreign " Mauricius ". But a Welsh origin is strongly suggested by 
the relations with Archdeacon Simeon. 

92Cont. Fl. Wig. s.a. 1139. 

®*See note 25 above. The chronicler mentions no name, but "vir magnae 
religionis . . . et praedecessoris mei David archidiaconus " can hardly be any 
one else. The idea that Meurig had himself been archdeacon (B. Willis, Bangor, 
pp. 61, 131) probably arose out of a confused recollection of this passage. 

»4 H. and St. i. 345-6. ^^ Cont. Fl. Wig. s.a. 


CHAP. Anarawd of South Wales should be invited.'-^" Whether the 


' conference met and with what result is unknown ; the opposi- 
tion would seem to have died down, leaving Meurig in posses- 
sion. Here, again, the victory rested with Canterbury, but it 
was of some moment that the issue had been raised and that, 
at least, a Welshman had been elected. 

In the diocese of Llandaff, Earl Robert of Gloucester was 
during this period in undisturbed possession, and one need not 
look for signs of the recovery of independence by the Welsh. 
Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that Urban was succeeded by a 
Welshman, a cleric of the diocese, who had been for many 
years Archdeacon of Llandaff.'*" Uchtryd was consecrated by 
Theobald in 1 140,^^ at the same time as Meurig of Bangor, and 
made as full a profession of obedience to Canterbury ; ^^ he re- 
cognised the archbishop's authority without demur in matters of 
Church jurisdiction.^"'* But he was not of the ordinary type of 
Norman prelate ; his enemies called him illiterate and worse,^**^ 
and he had a daughter, Angharad, whom he married to lorwerth 
ab Owain of Gwynllwg,^**^ so that it may be supposed that the 
Welshman in him overshadowed the ecclesiastic.^"^ On his 
death in 11 48,^*** he was succeeded by one Nicholas,^"^ who was 
no doubt more after the regular pattern, since he had been for 
thirty years a monk of St. Peter's, Gloucester,^"^ and was now 
specially chosen for the see by Theobald ; ^"^ yet he too was of 
Welsh blood, the son of a certain Gwrgant,^"^ and could not 

®^ Gir. Camb. iii. 59 {Invect. ii. 9). 

^ Diet. Nat. Biog. Iviii. p. 3. Uchtryd appears as archdeacon in 1126 [Lib. 
Land. 29), in 1131 (ibid. 60, 64), and in 1133 (Eng. Hist. Rev. ix. (1894), p. 532). 
98 Cont. Fl. Wig. s.a. 9» H. and St. i. 346, note a. 

100 See, for instance, the correspondence printed by H. and St. (i. 346-7). 

loi He is, presumably, the " Henricum (for Huctritum) . . . Landavensem " 
of the letter (possibly spurious) of the chapter of St. David's to Eugenius HI. 
printed in Gir. Camb. iii. 56-8 (Invect. ii. 6). 

^^^B.T. 212 (Brtits, 328) ; B. Sues. s.a. 1171. 

103 This is also suggested by the praise of the Bruts (B.T. 176; B, Saes^ 
s,a. 1147). i 

^"^ He died in the same year as Bernard — see note 86 above. 

105 "Ac yny ol ynteu y bu escob nicol uab gwrgant " (Bruts, 315; B.T. 
176 — cf. B. Saes. s.a. 1147 = 1148). 

lo^See his letter of 1173-4 to Alexander III. in Cart. Glouc. ii. 173-4. 

lOT " Opus enim manuum vestrarum ipse est et plantatio vestra," says Gilbert 
Foliot in a letter to Theobald (H. and St. i. 356). He was consecrated at Canter- 
bury on 14th March, 1148 (Reg. Sacr. (2), 46). 

los Not, of course, of the father of lestyn ap Gwrgant (Camb. Biog. 266), 
who cannot have flourished much later than 1050, nor yet of Bishop Urban (H. 


have been altogether out of sympathy with the Welshmen over CHAP, 
whom he was set as shepherd. ^^^^• 

It was in this age of unrest that the see of St. Asaph, which 
had for a long period been dormant, was revived and furnished 
with a bishop. The consecration of one Gilbert to this bishopric 
by Archbishop Theobald at Lambeth in 1143 is the earliest 
event in its history which is attested by contemporary evidence.^"^ 
Why the step of creating what was practically a new diocese 
was taken at this time is not easy to determine. If any reliance 
could be placed upon the letter of the chapter of St. David's to 
Eugenius, with its tale of an intended consecration by Bernard, 
which Theobald was able to forestall,^^** one might suppose that 
the scheme was a part of the St. David's campaign, designed 
to add a third to the two suffragans of the would-be archbishop. 
It is more probable that the move was directed against the 
claims of Bangor, which no doubt followed closely in the wake 
of the conquests of the men of Gwynedd. Rhuddlan and its 
neighbourhood, where the cathedral stood, were still held by 
the men of the Earl of Chester, but Owain was in possession of 
the upper valley of the Clwyd, and it was perhaps deemed wise 
to anticipate the demands which might be made on behalf of 
Bishop Meurig by placing a bishop in the long-deserted throne 
of St. Kentigern. That Gilbert was of the Norman, not of the 
Welsh race, his name sufficiently shows ; he was succeeded, 
moreover, in 1 152 by another cleric of the immigrant race, the 
well-known Geoffrey of Monmouth.^^^ 

Thus in various ways did the Welsh uprising affect the for- 
tunes of the Welsh Church, without at the same time breaking 
the fetters imposed upon it in the previous reign. It was an 
easier matter to shake off the yoke of the English crown than 
to escape from the control of the English primate, in this age 
when ecclesiastical power was at its height in England. 

and St. i. 303, 387), for the form " uab gwrgant escoh " appears to be a slip of MS. 
B. (B.T. 176, note i) and Mostyn MS. 116 (Evans, Rep. i. p. 60). 

i"9H. andSt. i. 347-8. 

^^o Gir. Camb. iii. 58 (Invect. ii. 6). Not only is the name wrongly given as 
*' Ricardum," but the dates of Stephen's captivity (1141) and of Gilbert's consec- 
ration (1143) do not run so closely together as to warrant the idea of a connection. 

m See p. 525. 

VOL. II. 9 


CHAP. Note to Chapter XIII,, § i.—The Alleged Archbishopric of St. David's. 

It is undoubtedly the case that Asser (cap. 79) styles Nobis, his relative and 
predecessor as Bishop of St. David's, *' archiepiscopum " ; but this title was 
merely used as an honourable designation and did not carry with it the powers of 
a metropolitan (see chapter vii. note 43). The British Church, in fact, inherited 
the traditions of a time when the system of subordination to the chief bishop of 
the province had not been developed. Consequently, no evidence exists, apart 
from the worthless testimony of the letter to Eugenius in Gir. Camb. iii. 56-8 
(Invect. ii. 6), that the bishops of St. David's ever exercised any kind of authority 
over the other bishops of Wales. Though Rhygyfarch makes Dewi an arch- 
bishop, consecrated such by the patriarch of Jerusalem and recognised by all 
after the Synod of Brefi (Cambro-Br. SS. 135-6, 139), he clearly does not mean 
to invest him with anything more than mere precedence over his fellows, Padarn 
and Teilo. It was only when the question of subjection to Canterbury became a 
burning one that the clergy of St. David's felt the weakness of their case in 
having no Welsh provincial head whom they could set over against the successor 
of St. Augustine. The claim to be the seat of the Archbishop of Wales was then 
put forward on behalf of St. David's itself. Hereupon there arose a new diffi- 
culty ; how was the undeniable fact to be got over that there was no record of 
the bestowal by the pope at any time of an archiepiscopal pall upon any oc- 
cupant of this see ? Some genius suggested that the pall worn at this time 
(though not without opposition from Tours — see H. and St. ii. 91-6) by the Breton 
Archbishop of Dol was really that of the Menevian See. Samson, the founder of 
the church of Dol and popularly supposed to be its first archbishop (" sancti 
Samsonis Dolensis Archipraesulis " in Hist. Reg. ix. 15), was known to have 
come to Brittany from Dyfed (see page 145), and it would further appear that in 
the catalogue of bishops of St. David's the name Samson was to be found. In 
defiance of chronology, it was therefore assumed that the Samson of the list, 
though separated from Dewi by some twenty names, was the Samson of saintly 
renown, who was, in fact, Dewi's contemporary and never ruled at Mynyw at 
all. Currency was first given to this story of the transference of the pall from 
St. David's to Dol about 1125 ; it appears in the letter of the chapter to Honorius 
II. (Gir, Camb. iii. 59-60 [Invect. ii. 10)), and is thenceforward a principal 
weapon in the St. David's armoury — see Gir. Camb. vi. 102-3 (Itin. ii. i). 

Geoffrey of Monmouth had no particular interest in pushing the St. David's 
claim, and in the text of the Historia Regum he is silent on the subject. Accord- 
ing to his scheme, the three metropolitan sees were London, York and Caerleon, 
(ix. 12), and David, though he died in his favourite monastery of Menevia, was 
"archbishop of the City of the Legions," and was succeeded in that office by 
Cynog of Llanbadarn, In the Prophecy of Merlin (vii. 3), however, which was 
probably compiled from Welsh sources, a passage occurs to the effect that 
Menevia shall be clad in the " pallium " of the City of the Legions. This en- 
abled the champions of the St. David's claim to reconcile their account of affairs 
(as they were compelled to do by the authority of the History of the Kings of 
Britain) with that given by the great romancer ; St. David, it was held, trans- 
ferred the archiepiscopal dignity from Caerleon to his solitary fane in the west of 
Dyfed. Eagerly accepted by Giraldus (vi. 56, loi {Itin. i. 5 ; ii. i) ; iii. 46 [Invect. 
ii, i)), this theory made for itself a secure place in later Welsh literature [lolo 
MSS. 82-3 ; Drych y Prif Oesoedd, bk. ii. ch. 2) and is even allowed to figure as 
sober history in the learned and dignified pages of the author of the Essay on the 
Welsh Saints (p, 197). 



{Ann. C. and the Bruts continue to be the primary authorities for this, as for 
previous chapters. The works of Gir. Camb. are full of allusions to the period. 
Of modern works which have been helpful, one may mention Eyton's Court, 
Household and Itinerary of Henry II. and J. H. Round's Feudal England.) 

1. The Rivals of Owain. 

It was fortunate for the Welsh people that after the emancipa- cHAP. 
tion at the beginning of the reign of Stephen they did not find ^^^* 
themselves leaderless, a flock without a shepherd, but that a 
prince arose who was able to give them wise and enlightened 
guidance and to teach them how to harvest the gains they had 
won. Owain Gwynedd was the first of a succession of such 
leaders ; his work was carried on, almost without a break, by 
Rhys ap Gruffydd, Llywelyn ab lorwerth, and Llywelyn ap 
Gruffydd, to the latest years of Welsh independence — it was, 
in fact, under him that the Welsh nation attained the full 
measure of national consciousness which enabled it for a century 
and a half successfully to resist absorption in the English 

As the eldest son of Gruffydd ap Cynan, Owain succeeded 
in 1 1 37 to the principal portion of his father's lordship of 
Gwynedd. He was not the only Owain ap Gruffydd among 
the princes of his day, for Gruffydd ap Maredudd of Powys 
had, on his death in 1128, left behind him a son Owain, who 
ultimately became the ruler of the southern part of his grand- 
father's dominions. In order to distinguish the two, a method 
not very usual in the naming of Welsh chieftains was adopted ; 
territorial titles were given to them, and the one became Owain 
of Gwynedd, while the other was styled Owain of Cyfeiliog, 
from the commote in which he was settled by his uncle Madog 

487 9 * 


CHAP, in 1149.^ Owain Gwynedd was also known as Owain Fawr, 
i.e., " Owain the Great," ^ a description he fully deserved. 
Welsh history can scarcely show a nobler or a better balanced 
character. His greatness was recognised alike by bard and 
by chronicler, by Welshman and Englishman, and among his 
eulogists are Archbishop Thomas of Canterbury ^ and Giraldus 
Cambrensis.* An outstanding feature of his character was his 
wisdom and prudence;* in him the native impetuosity and fire 
of the Celt were subjected to a perfect restraint, and, while he 
could lead against the foe with energy and decision, he was 
circumspect and cautious to a degree unusual among the high- 
spirited members of his class. The same self-restraint showed 
itself in his dealings with his own people ; he is praised for 
justice and moderation,^ and very few of his recorded actions 
seem to belong to that category of deeds of reckless violence 
which covers so much of the activity of his fellow-princes. 
His affections were strong, and a deep melancholy fell upon 
him when in 1146 he lost his young son Rhun, and again in 
1 162 upon the death of his mother;^ moreover, it was prob- 
ably his love for his second wife, Cristin, which made him 
oppose so resolutely the demand of the Church that he should 
put her away on the ground of consanguinity.^ Altogether, 
the figure of Owain stands out with a clearness of outline not 
common in Welsh history and the picture is undeniably an 
attractive one. 

A foil to the greatness of Owain was furnished by his 

^ From 1143 to 1154 the chronology of both MSS. of Ann. Camb. is in dis- 
order. Nor is this surprising when it is understood that their common original 
had omitted the year 1152 and attached the end of 1153 to the beginning of 1151, 
as may clearly be seen from a comparison with the Bruts for the same period. 
B.T. and B. Saes. seem to have the right arrangement of years, and I follow the 
chronology of the latter, adding as before (see chap, xiii. note 55) one year. 

2 " Oeni magni " (Gir. Camb. vi. 143). 

3 See his letter to Owain in H. and St. i. 373-4, and Mat. Hist. Beket. v. 

■•vi. 143-5 (Itin. ii- 12). 

■'' " Virum . . . discretum " (Abp. Thomas) ; " vir in gente sua moderantiae 
magnae et sapientiae " (Gir. Camb.). B.T. (p. 206) speaks of his " brudder ". 

8 Gir. Camb. (vi. 145) mentions him as one of three princes distinguished by 
•• justitia, prudentia, principalisque modestia regiminis ". 

' I follow B. Saes. (s.a. 1161 : " am varw y vam ") in preference to B.T. (p. 
197 : " o achaws hynny," i.e., the loss of Tafolwern). 

8 This is suggested by the " gi cognatara tuam diligis " of the archbishop's 
letter (H. and St. i. 374). 


younger brother Cadwaladr, who is first heard of in the Cere- CHAP, 
digion campaigns and was a prominent personage through- 
out his brother's reign, surviving him some eighteen months. 
Cadwaladr was the ordinary, as Owain was the exceptional, 
Welsh prince. He was restless, impulsive, quick to suspect 
and hasty to strike — 

In power unpleased, impatient of disgrace. 

He had to a conspicuous degree the open-handed liberality 
which was in popular estimation the prime virtue of a prince,'-' 
but, even if some allowance be made for the trying position 
of a younger son, he cannot be said to have played a patriotic 
or magnanimous part. After the unsuccessful attack upon 
Aberteifi in 1 1 3 8, he is next heard of at the battle of Lincoln, 
fought on 2nd February, I141, where to our surprise he ap- 
pears, with Madog ap Maredudd of Powys, at the head of a 
great host of Welshmen brought into the English civil war by 
the Earl of Chester.^" The rudely armed throng, despised as 
barbarians by their knightly opponents, had the satisfaction of 
joining in the rout which made King Stephen a prisoner, and 
in the subsequent sack of the city of Lincoln, but it may be 
doubted whether Owain approved of the adventure, which was 
all to the profit of the great border lords, followers of the 
Empress Matilda. Two years later Cadwaladr was concerned 
in something worse than an act of vainglorious folly. His 
retinue fell upon the young Anarawd ap Gruffydd of South 
Wales, who was in close alliance with him and was married to 
his daughter (or, it may be, his niece),^^ and treacherously put 
him to death. That Cadwaladr was privy to the deed may be 
judged from the righteous indignation of his brother Owain, 
who resolved to strip him of his territories and at once set his 
son Hywel to expel him from his possessions in the north of 
Ceredigion. Marching across the Aeron, Hywel soon carried 

** Gir. Camb. vi. 145 (Itin. ii. 12). 

1" Ge%ta St. 69 (70), Hen. Hunt. 268, 273, and Ord. Vit. xiii. 43 (V. 126, 127) 
agree that the Welsh contingent had been raised by Earl Ranulf. Ord. Vit. gives 
the names of the leaders as "duofratres Mariadoth et Kaladrius"; the former 
I take to be Madog ap Maredudd, who had married Cadwaladr's sister, Susanna. 

" B.T. and B. Saes. differ on this point. In the text of the former {Bmts, 
311), " nas " is to be supplied before " ofynhaei " (" so that he did not fear " — 
see Mostyn MS. 116 in Evans, Rep. i. p. 60) and some such word as " dlgyfoethi " 
after " mynnu ", 


CHAP, out his orders and burnt the castle of Aberystwyth. Cadwaladr 
saw himself left without a foothold in the country, and in 1144 
turned for assistance to the customary quarter, bringing to 
Abermenai a hired fleet from Dublin which was to compel his 
brother to reinstate him.^^ It would seem that Owain was not 
prepared to press matters to the furthest point on this occasion ; 
the quarrel ended in a reconciliation and the restoration of 
Cadwaladr to his lands, after some difficulty had been ex- 
perienced in getting rid of the foreign allies, who in vain de- 
manded their stipulated reward. 

Harmony prevailed between the two brothers for eight 
years after this encounter, though it may be conjectured that 
the elements of discord were meanwhile accumulating which 
were to find vent in the still more serious explosion of 11 52. 
It is possible that Owain had a hand in the events of 1147, 
but this is uncertain ; the attack upon Meirionydd in that year 
has rather the aspect of a private adventure on the part of 
his sons, Hywel and Cynan. Hywel came from the south, 
from his lands in Ceredigion, Cynan from the north, where he 
probably held Ardudwy, and between them they swept the 
cantref from end to end. Cadwaladr had, however, built him- 
self a castle at Cynfael ^^ and entrusted its defence to Morfran, 
abbot of the neighbouring " clas " of Towyn ; ^* the capture of 
this was no easy task, for its works were strong and the keeper 
insensible alike to menaces and to bribes. At last, it was 
carried by storm, and Cadwaladr ceased to bear rule in 
Meirionydd, The real rupture with Owain was, however, five 
years later, when Cadwaladr was driven from the isle of 
Anglesey ,^^ the cradle of the royal line of Gwynedd, and, this 

12 The Bruts (B.T. 164; B. Sues. s.a. 1143) mention as leaders of the 
Danes Otter son of Otter (d. 1148 ? see Chroti. Scot, s.a.), a MacTurcaill (per- 
haps Ragnall, who d. 1146) and a Mac " Cherulf ". 

1^ Remains of entrenchments are still to be seen behind the farm of Bryn 
Castell, which is not far from the Cynfal of to-day. 

14 wy ty gwyn " {Bruts, 315; so also B. Sues. s.a. 1146) is always taken to 
be Whitland (Y ty gwyn ar Daf) — see Gw. Brut. s.a. 1146; Carnh. 547; Gw. 
ap Rhys, ii. 46 ; Hoare, Itin. i. 184 ; B.T. 175 (trans.). But it is a wildly 
improbable assumption that a Cistercian abbot, in the early days of that order's 
austerity, should have held a castle for a Welsh prince sixty miles from the 
monastery he ruled. The difficulty is solved if we suppose the true form to be 
" y tywyn " and Morfran to be the head of the " clas " at that place. 

i" Powel (147) and others following him were misled by a slip in B. Saes,, or 
a MS. nearly allied to it, into supposing that Cadwaladr was imprisoned by his 


time fleeing east instead of west, found a refuge in England, CHAP, 
where he lived for five years as an exile. 

It would seem, indeed, that Cadwaladr had before his banish- 
ment formed an influential English connection which would 
make it natural for him to turn to England in the hour of his 
need. Tradition affirms that he married a lady of the house of 
Clare ^® and there is evidence in support of this view, showing 
also that "Alicia de Clara" was his wife before 1153.^'^ It is 
obvious that the object of this marriage, at whatever time con- 
tracted, was to give Cadwaladr a better hold upon Ceredigion, 
and Alice was, therefore, in all probability a daughter of Richard 
fitz Gilbert.^^ In this case she was a sister of Earl Gilbert of 
Hertford and a niece of Earl Ranulf of Chester,^^ so that the 
exiled chief was not without powerful friends across the border. 
They availed him little, however, against the firmly established 
authority of his brother, which was daily extending over a 
wider area. 

For, while Cadwaladr had been enduring those buff'ets of 
fortune which wait upon the path of the inconstant, Owain's 
career had been one of steady progress. Reference has already 
been made to the Earl of Chester's concern at the threatening 
state of affairs in 1146; his appeal to the king for support, 
whatever his enemies might say, was fully justified by the state 
of the border. No sooner was news brought to Wales of the 
earl's captivity in Northampton than the men of Powys crossed 
the Dee and began to ravage Maelor Saesneg. They were met 
at Wich on 3rd September by Robert of Mold, hereditary 
steward of the earldom, and defeated with great slaughter.^*^ 

nephew, Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd, in 1150. It was his son Cadfan to whom 
this befell, as may be seen from a careful comparison of the notices for this and 
the previous year in Ann. C. and the Bruts. 

^^ Powel, 148 ; Gwydir Fam. 14. 

1'' See the Haughmond charter cited in Gwydir Fam. 14, note 3 (from an un- 
known source), and Owen, Catalogue, ii. p. 451 (from Harl. MS. 6o58). 

18 So Sir John Wynne, and Eyton, Shrops. x. p. 257. Powel's " Gilbert Earle 
of Clare " is certainly wrong, for, though Gilbert fitz Richard had a daughter 
named Alice, she married Aubrey de Vere and on his death in 1141 entered the 
monastery of St. Osyth's (Geoff. Mand. 389-92). 

19 Geoff. Mand. 160. Earls Ranulf and Gilbert and Cadwaladr are in fact 
shown to have been at Chester together in 115 1 or 11 52 by a Shrewsbury Abbey 
Charter (Eyton, Shrops. x. p. 257). 

20 Ann. Cest. s.a. 1146. For Wich, Fulwich, Droitwich or Dritewich, on 
the borders of Cheshire and the Maelor district of Flintshire, see Arch. Cantb. IV. 
vii. (1876), 91-3. Nantwich, suggested by Christie, is too far east. 


CHAP. But meanwhile Robert's own frontier castle of Mold ^^ was being 
closely besieged by the men of Gwynedd, and before the end of 
the year it fell into their hands. No more acceptable Christmas 
gift was it possible for them to bestow upon their lord. He 
had been overcome with grief at the death in this year of his 
young son Rhun, a comely, winsome lad, long of limb, fair of 
hue, with flashing blue eyes and curls of gold — a Prince Charm- 
ing of the genuine high-born Celtic type.^^ There had been no 
consolation for the sorrowing father, cut to the heart by the 
bitter stroke, until the unexpected news of the capture of the 
long-coveted fortress awoke him from his stupor and reminded 
him that he had still a country for which to live. 

By his conquest of Moldsdale or Ystrad Alun, Owain had 
1^1 within his grasp, and in 1 149 he showed his determination 
to add this commote also to his dominions by building at 
Buddugre within its borders a castle which commanded the pass 
from Dyffryn Clwyd.^^ He thus returned to that policy of 
aggression against Powys which had been in suspense since the 
death of his brother Cadwallon in Nanheudwy in 11 32 and 
aroused the enmity of his powerful neighbour, Madog ap 
Maredudd, Madog had succeeded his father as the principal 

"^ For the pedigree of the Norman lords of Mold see Helsby's edition of 
Ormerod's History 0/ Cheshire, i. p. 58. Robert, hereditary steward of the earldom 
of Chester, was nephew of the Hugh fitz Norman who held half of Bistre and 
other lands in the Mold district in 1086 (Domesd. i. 269a (2)). Mold is " Mons 
Altus," which, like the Welsh" Y Wyddgrug " (The Burial Mound), refers to the 
great barrow known as the Bailey Hill, the site of the keep of the mediaeval castle. 
There is nothing to support Powel's view (115) that under Rufus one " Eustace 
Cruer " did homage for Mold and Hopedale. 

^ His grandfather, Gruffydd ap Cynan, had " gwallt melyn " (Buch. Gr. ap 
C. 114 [728]). 

^^ This was the well-known Castell (or Tomen) y Rhodwydd, in the township 
of Bodigre'r larll and the parish of Llanarmon. The identification will be found 
in Powel (147, marginal note) and was adopted by Pennant (ii. 13). In Leland's 
day (Wales, pp. 70-1) the place was used as a sheepfold; he knew it as Castell 
Cefn Du and had heard it belonged to Owain Glyndwr — no doubt a popular 
mistake for Owain Gwynedd. The Rev. John Lloyd of Ruthin visited it in 1693 
and gave Edward Llwyd an account of it (Arch. Camb. II. ii. [i85ij,57). " Y Rhod- 
wydd " is explained as " The Mound " (Goss. Guide, pp. 134-5 ; of. Arch. Camb. 
V. xii. [1895], 19-20) ; if this be correct, the later form, Tomen y Rhodwydd, is an 
instance of unconscious tautology. There is no sort of authority for the " Castell 
3nr adwy " of the recent Ordnance Survey maps. Buddugre (for the form see Evans, 
Diet. s.v. and Thomas, St. Asaph, p. 622) was at a later period divided between 
the lord of the commote and Valle Crucis Abbey (Bodigre'r larll and Bodigre'r 


ruler of Powys in this year 1132 ; although Hywel ab leuaf, of CHAP, 
the house of Trahaearn, was under-king in Arwystli,^* and 
although Madog gave Cyfeiliog in 1149 to his nephews Owain 
and Meurig, sons of Gruffydd ap Maredudd, yet he was reckoned 
overlord of the whole, and his dominions were said to extend 
from Pulford (near Chester) to the extreme point of Arwystli,^^ 
or, as the poet Gwalchmai phrased it — 

From Plynlimmon's top to the gates of Chester, 
From the lights of high-roofed Bangor 
To the edge of Meirionydd's limit.^^ 

Like other Welsh princes, Madog had profited by the disorders 
of the time. His neighbour in the Oswestry district was William 
fitz Alan, son of a Breton knight who had received many favours 
from Henry I. and brother of the Walter fitz Alan who founded 
the Scottish and royal house of Stuart.'"^" William's father had 
apparently succeeded to the position of Rainald of Bailleul on 
the Shropshire border,^^ and he himself entered upon it towards 
the end of the reign of Henry. At first, he was on good terms 
with Stephen, receiving from him in 11 37 the oflfice of sheriff 
of Shropshire, in succession to Payn fitz John. But he was 
married to a niece of Robert of Gloucester and this led him into 
rebellion; in August, 1138, he fortified Shrewsbury Castle 
against the king, and only escaped capture by a flight which left 

2^ Llywarch ap Trahaearn is last heard of in 1123 (see p. 467) and the strife 
among the members of his house which marked the years 1129 and 1130 was no 
doubt due to his death. Ultimately, Hywel ab leuaf ab Owain ap Trahaearn 
(for the pedigree see Dwnn, ii. 15) succeeded, holding the district until his death 
in 1 185. That he acknowledged Madog ap Maredudd as his overlord maybe 
seen from the Trefeglwys charter (" Notum sit omnibus quod Madawc Rex 
Powissentium ") printed (from a lost Wynnstay MS.) in Arch. Camb. III. vi. 
(i860), 330-1. 

^ The romance entitled Breuddwyd Rhonabwy begins : " Madawc uab 
maredud a oed idaw powys yny theruyneu. Sef yw hynny o porf ord hyt yg g wauan 
yg gwarthaf arwystli " \Mab. 144). There is a Nant Bryn Gwa«on near the 
source of the Ystwyth, in the extreme south-west of Arwystli. 

2^ Myv. Arch. i. 202 (148). The poet's Bangor is, of course, Bangor Iscoed. 
It may be noted that Madog, as the lord of the whole of Powys, could not, as has 
so often been asserted (Powel, 153 ; Carnh. 565 ; Yorke (2), 45), have given his 
name to Powys Fadog. The distinction between Powys Fadog and Powys 
Wenwynwyn obviously arose about 1200. 

^' For William fitz Alan and his family see Eyton, Shrops. vii. 211-62, and 
Round, Peerage and Family History, chap. ii. 

28 " Alanus filius Fladaldi qui honorem vicecomitis Warini post filium eius 
[a mistake] suscepit" (Mon. Angl. iii. 519). For Rainald see page 388. 


CHAP, the garrison to bear the brunt of the royal vengeance.^^ Hence- 
forward, he was attached to the cause of Matilda and her son, 
and it is not surprising that his hold upon Oswestry so slackened 
that in 1 149 Madog ap Maredudd, descending from the hills of 
Cyrn y Bwch, was able to seize the place and repair the castle 
as a stronghold for his own use.^** The district was for a few 
years completely in Madog's power ; his natural son, Owain 
Brogyntyn, was brought up at Porkington, a little to the north 
of the town,^^ and the author of the tale of The Dream of 
Rhonabwy makes Madog ^^ undisputed lord of Dudleston 
and all the land between the Ceiriog and the Vyrnwy.^^ 

A prince who had won such successes was not likely to 
stand idly by while the men of Gwynedd poured into a com- 
mote which had for centuries been reckoned a part of Powys.^* 
In the year following the invasion of IM, Owain Gwynedd and 
Madog came to blows. Though there is no record of the 
achievement, Owain seems about this time to have taken 
Rhuddlan Castle and made himself master of Tegeingl ; ^'^ 
accordingly, he and Madog met at Coleshill, once a manor of 
the Earl of Chester ^^ and miles away from the Welsh border, 
but now, as the star of Wales rose to the zenith, to be the 
battleground of the two Welsh leaders. The prince of Powys 
did not rely upon his own strength, but came into the field with 
the support of troops lent him by Earl Ranulf, who had good 
reasons of his own for wishing to check the progress of Owain. 
Nevertheless, it was Owain who won the day and thereby made 
sure of his hold, not only upon lal, but also upon Tegeingl and 

29 Ord. Vit. xiii. 37 (V. 112-3); Cont. Fl. Wig. s.a. 1138 (p. no). 

="• See Cymr. x. 43, note (A. N. Palmer). It maybe added that Ann. Camb. 
MS. C. has (s.a. 1151) the correct form " y^edificavit ". 

3^ For Owain Brogyntyn see Diet. Nat. Biog. xlii. p. 395. It may be added 
that " Oenus de Porchinton " appears frequently in the Pipe Rolls from 1160 to 
1 169 as receiving money by the king's orders from the sheriff of Shropshire. 

32 In 1 152 Madog's son Llywelyn slew Stephen, son of Baldwin (B.T, 180; 
B. Saes. s.a. 1151). This was the lord of Montgomery, a castle which Henry I. 
had given to Baldwin de Boilers before 1121 (Eyton, Shrops. xi. p. 120) and 
which thus obtained its Welsh name of Castell Baldwyn (Bruts, 260, 295, 365, 
376; Myv. Arch. I. 303 [214]). Tre Faldwyn, which is properly the vill and not 
the castle, came into use later. 

33 Mab. 144-5. "* See p. 244. 

35 This is suggested by the fact that Geoffrey of Monmouth, who was bishop 
of St. Asaph from 1152 to 1155, died without having visited his see. 
3* In 1093 ; see Mon. Angl. ii. 386. 


Ystrad Alun. His position became still more secure in 1153, chap. 
when Earl Ranulf died, leaving an heir only six years old,^'^ 
who could not for many years take up the sword and defend 
his father's inheritance. On the eve of the accession of Henry 
n., Owain found himself possessed of almost everything for 
which he had toiled ; he was freed from the rivalry of his 
brother Cadwaladr and of Madog ap Maredudd and had brought 
his men within sight of the red towers of the great city on the Dee. 
The weakness of the central authority which had allowed 
the Welsh to reap advantages so extensive came at once to an 
end when Henry of Anjou obtained the crown at the close of 
1154,^*^ By the peace of Wallingford, arrived at in the previ- 
ous year, the party strife of the past fifteen years had been 
ended ; Matilda's followers and those of Stephen agreed to ac- 
cept the former's young son, who already promised to be a 
ruler of vigour and decision, as unquestioned heir. Yet it is 
no matter for surprise that Henry should for some time have 
postponed action against the Welsh, leaving them in possession 
of their conquests. He had other work to do of a more urgent 
kind — order to evolve out of administrative chaos, rebellious 
barons to tame, private castles to dismantle and private armies 
to disband, not to speak of his important interests on the Con- 
tinent, where he was lord of a domain which stretched from the 
English Channel to the Pyrenees. He devoted the first year 
of his reign to the restoration of the royal authority in England 
and among other recalcitrant lords brought into subjection two 
leading magnates of the Welsh march, Earl Roger of Hereford 
and Hugh Mortimer of Wigmore. Roger had succeeded to 
the earldom in 1143, when his father Miles, after enjoying the 
dignity but two years, had been accidentally shot by a com- 
panion while hunting in the Forest of Dean.^^ He was through 
his mother Sybil of Welsh descent,*'* and he now relied upon 

^■^ According to Ann. Cest. " comes Hugo ii " was born in 1147. 

38 Stephen died on 25th October, but Henry was not crowned until 19th 

^^ Ann. Camb. s.a. ; Gesta St. 16-17 (16), 95-6(93), 103 (loi). The day was 
24th December ; for the contention between Llantony and St. Peter's, Gloucester, 
for his body, see Cart. Glouc. i. Ixxv. Roger afterwards raised, on the scene of 
the tragedy at Flaxley, a Cistercian abbey in memory of his father (Gir. Camb. iv. 
219 ; Mon. Angl. v. 590). 

*^ See page 438 above. In addition to Brecknock he had from his father 
the lordship of Upper Gwent, which Brian fitz Count had made over to Miles in 


CHAP, the Welshmen of his lordship of Brecknock to support him in 
his resistance to the new king. But his friends persuaded him 
to submit ; at Easter he made his peace with Henry and had 
his earldom confirmed to him.*^ Hugh Mortimer gave more 
trouble ; a set campaign was fought against him, and it was not 
until his castles of Cleobury, Wigmore and Bridgenorth had 
been taken by the king that peace was secured, in July, 1155, 
along the western border."*^ The next year was devoted by 
Henry to his French possessions ; he went thither in January 
and did not return until April, 1 157. 

It was probably at the Council of Northampton, held on the 
17th of July, that measures against Owain Gwynedd were 
finally resolved upon.^^ Opposition to Henry from other 
quarters had now died down ; in these very months the boy 
King Malcolm of Scotland met him in the Peak and resigned 
to him the counties in the north which had been seized by the 
Scotch during the turmoil of the previous reign. He had the 
support of the other princes of North Wales against Owain, of 
Cadwaladr, to whom he had given an estate worth ^J a year 
at Ness in Shropshire,** of Madog ap Maredudd, of Madog's 
brother, lorwerth the Red, and of Hywel of Arwystli.*'' To 

1141 or 1142. See the charter of the Empress Maud in Round, Anc. Charters, p. 
43, and the notes following, in which the errors are exposed of the genealogical 
narrative in Mon. Angl. iv. 615. 

*^ Gervase, i. 161-2 ; Eyton, Itin. 9. 

^^Gervase, i. 162; R. de Torigni, 184-5 ; Eyton, Itin. 10. Hugh is usually 
made out to be the son of the Ralph Mortimer of 1086 (see page 395 above), but 
a generation probably intervened. Wigmore and Cleobury were old Mortimer 
possessions, but Bridgenorth, then known as Brug, was a royal castle and was 
accordingly resumed by the king. 

*^ For the events of this campaign see Ann. Camb.; B.T. andS. Sues. {s.a. 
1156); R. de Torigni, 193, 195; Wm. Newb. ii. 5; Ann. Cest.; Gir. Camb. 
vi. 130-1 (Ititi. ii. 7), 137-8 (ii. lo) ; Gervase, i. 165. 

*■* In the second and third years of Henry II. the sheriff of Shropshire was 
allowed a deduction of £7 in respect of crown lands of that annual value given 
by the king to Cadwaladr (Pipe Rolls 43, 88). After Michaelmas, 1157, the 
grant appears in the name of John Lestrange (with los. added), to whom it was 
no doubt transferred when Cadwaladr recovered his Welsh possessions, and the 
entry in the Pipe Roll of the sixth as of succeeding years shows that it lay in Ness, 
in the hundred of Baschurch. Cf. Eyton, Shrops. x. p. 255. 

^''See Pipe Roll, 3 Hen. II. (1156-7), 89, for payments as follows made by 
the king's writ in that year through the sheriff of Shropshire : to " Maddoch," ;^8 
los., to " Geruetto," 40s., to"Hoelo filio Joaf," 40s. B.T. 186 has a curious 
passage about the conduct of Madog in this struggle, while B. Sues, (followed by 
Powel and others) sends him to Anglesey in command of the fleet I C/., however, 


reduce the prince of Gwynedd to obedience seemed, therefore, CHAP, 
an easy task, and he set out from Chester in high hopes of a 
successful campaign. In summoning the feudal host for the 
expedition, he had greatly reduced the numbers of the levy in 
order to provide for a much longer term of service, so that he 
might not be hampered by its expiry before the work was half 
done.*® The knights were reinforced by archers from the 
Shropshire borders, brought northward by William fitz Alan, 
the new sheriff of the county.*'' A fleet, moreover, was to 
second the efforts of the army by operations from the seaward 
side ; it was apparently manned in Dyfed and sailed to meet 
Henry from the port of Pembroke.*^ 

Meanwhile, Owain and his sons Dafydd and Cynan pre- 
pared to meet this formidable onset. Owain posted himself at 
Basingwerk, or Dinas Basing, as it was styled by the Welsh, 
the ancient stronghold which marked the northern end of 
Wat's Dyke and barred the road to Rhuddlan. The sons 
took up their position in the great wood which lay to the west, 
crowning the higher ground as far south as Hawarden, and 
thus opposed a barrier to the flanking of the main camp 
at Basingwerk.*^ Henry knew nothing of Welsh methods of 
warfare, and with youthful heedlessness walked into the trap 
which had thus been laid for him. He sent his main army by 
the direct road along the coast, but plunged himself, with a 
body of light armed troops, into the thick of the forest, whence 

Ann. Camb. MS. C. (s.o. 1158 = 1157) — " Henricus rex Anglorum movit ex- 
ercitum versus Nortwalliam, adjuvante Madauc filio Maredut ". lorwerth Goch 
was the son of Maredudd of Powys (B.T. 188 ; Mab. 144) ; according to 
The Dream of Rhonabwy, he had no territory in the time of his brother 
Madog and had to be content with the office of captain of the guard (penteulu). 

•»6 Stubbs, Const. Hist. i. (3), p. 589. 

*'' " Et in liberatione archiariorum regis in exercitu, 47s." (Pipe Roll, 3 Hen. 
n. 8g — Salopescire). 

*^ This is suggested by the names of the leaders and by the following entry 
in Pipe Roll, 3 Hen. H. 108 (civitas Wintonie) — " Et in locanda una navi ad 
portandum corredium regis usque Pembroc, Rogero constabulario, £^ ". 

4" According to Gir. Camb., Ann. Cest. and Jocelyn of Brakelond, the 
fight took place near Coleshill. MS. C. of B.T. has " Koet Kennadlaoc," a name 
which probably stands for Pennardd Alaog, i.e., Hawarden, now known to the 
Welsh as Penarlag (Owen, Pemb. i. 419 ; cf. also the forms of the name in MS. 
E. of B.T. 372, and Pen. MS. 131, as cited in Evans, Rep. i. p. 821). Powel 
(150-1) and Gw. Brut, s.a. (1156) have " Coed Eulo," which may be a guess or 
from some unknown source. No precise indication of the site seems at present 


CHAP, he hoped to fall upon Owain unawares. He was not long in 
repenting of his folly ; the skirmishers of Dafydd and Cynan 
immediately set upon him and for a little while the fate of 
king and kingdom trembled in the balance. Eustace fitz 
John, constable of Chester, and Robert of Courcy, another 
prominent baron, were slain ; it was only the coolness of Earl 
Roger of Hertford ^^ which saved the king's life, and in the con- 
fusion the rumour ran wildly about that he was indeed among 
the dead — a rumour which caused Henry of Essex, hereditary 
constable of England, incontinently to throw down the royal 
standard and flee in the utmost dismay. ^^ Little by little, how- 
ever, the scattered company, and with them the king, made 
their way to the shore and safely rejoined the main body of 
the army. The day had been inglorious and disastrous for the 
English, but it was not a day of rout ; for Owain, finding him- 
self too weak to withstand the foe, left his station at Basing- 
werk and retreated to the neighbourhood of St. Asaph. ^^ The 
Welsh had their losses also, and Giraldus tells a touching story 
of a greyhound which guarded faithfully for more than a week 
the body of its master, a young Welshman slain in this battle, 
and held at bay the ravenous beasts and birds of the forest. 

The king's road was now clear to Rhuddlan, and, as he 
reached this gate of the Vale of Clwyd, Owain retreated still 
further west.^^ It was probably at this point that Henry was 
informed of the ill success of his naval expedition. Instead of 
meeting him at Rhuddlan or Degannwy, the ships had cast 

'" Jocelyn of Brakelond gives this detail, his ultimate authority being Henry 
of Essex himself; see Memorials of St. Edmund^s Abbey, edited by T. Arnold for 
the Rolls Series, i. 273-4. 

"^i Henry was subsequently accused by Robert of Montfort of having had a 
traitorous design in this flight, and, after long delay, the matter was brought to the 
arbitrament of the judicial duel in 1163, when Henry was defeated. Much to the 
regret of the king, who believed his protestations of sincerity, he was forced to 
retire from secular life and became a monk of Reading (R. de Torigni, 218 ; 
Wm. Newb. ii. 5 ; Jocelyn, ut supra ; Eyton, Itin. 61-2). 

"2 To Cil Owain, i.e., Owain's Retreat, says B.T. If, however, the chronicler 
wishes to suggest that the place, which is a mile south-east of St. Asaph, got 
its name from this incident, he is easily refuted, for " Chiluen " appears in 
Domesd. i. 269a (i) as a berewick of Rhuddlan, 

53 " Tal llwyn pina " (B.T., Bruts, 319), or " Tal llwyn pennant " (B. Saes.), 
is identified by Powel with Bryn y pin (151), above Kinmel, a spot which certainly 
fits in well with the geography of the campaign. There are no remains of 


anchor in the harbour of Moelfre,^* and the prospect of plunder CHAP, 
had led to the landing of a number of knights, who had not 
spared in their ravages the churches of Llanbedr Goch and 
Llanfair Mathafarn Eithaf During the night there was a 
mustering of the natives from all parts of the island, and on 
the following day a battle was fought which vindicated the 
outraged honour of the saints of Mon. The invaders were 
defeated : Henry fitz Henry,^^ a son of King Henry I. by Nest 
of Pembroke, fell beneath a shower of lances, and his half- 
brother, Robert fitz Stephen,^® was seriously wounded and 
escaped with difficulty to the ships in the roadstead. This 
disaster, coupled with his own perilous experiences, no doubt 
convinced the king that he had gone as far as was practicable 
that year in the effort to subjugate the prince of Gwynedd and 
that it was time to offer terms. Owain, on his side, had 
received sufficient proof of the might of the English crown ; 
ever prudent and sagacious, he saw the need of purchasing a 
peace which would give him time to consolidate his power, 
and thus an agreement was not long delayed. 

The conditions included the tender of homage to Henry 
and the delivery of hostages for future good behaviour.*'^ 

^''The tract "O Oes Gwrtheyrn" (Bruts, 405; Comment. (2), 155) and the 
poet Gwalchmai (Myv. Arch. I. 197 [145]) both fix this battle at " Tal Moelfre," 
and I know of no Moelfre in Anglesey save the one on the east coast. The two 
churches mentioned in the text are not far off ; Llandyfrydog, which was also 
despoiled, according to Giraldus, is in the same district. On the other hand, it 
is noteworthy that B. Saes. mentions Aber Menai as the landing place, and, if 
this be correct, Gwalchmai's line — 

" A menai heb drai o drallanw gwaedryar " 
(And Menai ebbed not, for the inflowing of the streams of blood) 

is much more to the point. " Eglwys ueir ac eglwys bedyr " can also be found at 
Llanfair yn y cymwd and Newborough, though it is doubtful whether the old 
church of Rhosyr was not Llananno, rather than Llanbedr. 

•'>•'' " Henricus filius Geraldi . . . velut alii volunt, filius fuit Henrici regis " 
(Ann. Camb. MS. B.) ; " Henricus . . . regis Henrici primi filius ... ex nobili 
Nesta, Resi filii Theodori filia, in australi Kambria Demetiae finibus oriundus " 
(Gir. Camb. vi. 130 [Itin. ii. 7.]). Henry fitz Henry's lands were m Narberth and 
Pebidiog (i. 59 [De Rebus, i. 9]). There is no evidence as to the date of his birth, 
except that it befell while Nest was the wife of Gerald. The order of names in 
Gir. Camb. i. 59 seems to me geographical and not chronological. 

''^Robert was the son of Stephen, constable of Cardigan in 1136, by Nest, 
whom the constable may well have married after the death of Gerald. He 
succeeded his father at Cardigan and also had lands in Cemais (Gir. Camb. i. 59 ; 
cf. his gift of Llanfyrnach on the Taf to Slebech [Fenton (2), 347]). 

®^ The sheriffs of London paid in the financial year 1 157-8 72s. for wearing 
apparel for the use of Owain's hostages (Pipe Roll, 4 Hen. IL 114). 


CHAP. Owain was further required to restore Cadwaladr to his former 
XIV • 

possessions and to resign all claim to Tegeingl, This district 
reverted once more to English rule ; Rhuddlan Castle again 
became a border fortress and was entrusted to Hugh of 
Beauchamp ; ^^ Basingwerk was also fortified. Previous to the 
Welsh occupation of this region, there had been a Cistercian 
abbey at the latter place, originally founded by Earl Ranulf 
of Chester in 1 1 3 1 as a house of the order of Savigny and 
transferred in 1 147, with the other houses of that rule, to the 
more popular order of Citeaux.^" The king, on his return to 
Chester, not only confirmed to the monks what they had 
previously held in Tegeingl, but gave them, out of the forfeited 
lands of William Peverel of Nottingham, the vill of Glossop in 
Derbyshire, as a thankoffering, it may be conjectured, for his 
providential escape from death in the woods of Coleshill."" 

Thus Owain lost his recent acquisitions between the Clwyd 
and the Dee and was obliged again to give his protection to 
his restless and troublesome brother. It has to be added, also, 
ere the record of this year's transactions is complete, that, after 
Henry's departure, lorwerth the Red of Powys attacked and 
destroyed the castle in IM which had been built in 1149 in 
token of the ascendancy of Gwynedd. Owain's sun, which 
had hitherto shone so resplendently and triumphantly, was now 
clouded over and its radiance dimmed. Yet it was but a 
temporary obscuration ; in a few years the clouds which had 
gathered are seen slowly to disperse and his career ends as 
brilliantly as it had begun. 

n. The Victories of the Sons of Gruffydd ap Rhys. 

While Owain was thus building up a stable realm in the 
north, the sons of Gruffydd ap Rhys had been no less busy and 

^8 Henceforth Rhuddlan is a royal fortress and not dependent upon the 
earldom of Chester. 

59 The authority for the year of the foundation is Dugdale {Mon. Angl. v. 
261), who quotes from a chronicle of St. W^erburgh's, Chester, not yet identified. 
The house was certainly in existence in 1147 {Eng. Hist. Rev. viii. p. 669) and the 
charters of Earl Ranulf are summarised in Charter Rolls, ii. 289-90 from an 
inspeximus of 1285. 

80Afow. Angl. V. 262-3. Pipe Roll, 4 Hen. II. (1157-8) is the first which 
contains the allowance to the fermor (terra Willelmi Peurelli) of 20s. for lands 
in " Langedenedale " given to the monks of Basingwerk. All trace of the house 
of Templars which Henry at the same time set up between Rhuddlan and 
Basingwerk (R. de Torigni) has long since disappeared. 


almost as successful in the south. The eldest of them, de- CHAP, 
scribed by the " Chronicle of the Princes " as " the hope and ^^^* 
stay and glory of the men of South Wales," ^^ had, indeed, 
been cut off by the crime of 1143, but, although this left the 
fortunes of the family for a few years in the sole charge of 
Cadell, the younger brothers, Maredudd and Rhys, were rapidly 
growing out of childhood, and as early as 1 146, when the elder 
of the two was about sixteen, appear with their surviving 
brother at the head of the armies of Deheubarth. The activity 
of the three was confined to Deheubarth in the stricter sense, 
that is, to the three regions of Dyfed, Ceredigion and Ystrad 
Tywi ; in eastern South Wales Hugh Mortimer had in 1144 
recovered his authority in Elfael and Maelienydd, and the lords 
of Brecknock and Glamorgan maintained their position without 
interruption through the whole epoch of revolt. But, within 
the limits indicated, the sons of Gruffydd held the country at 
their command, as they swept down from the uplands of 
Cantref Mawr upon castle and town and drove the Normans 
who held them eastward to Swansea or westward to Pembroke 
and St. David's. 

In 1 145 Earl Gilbert came, it would seem for the first 
time, to visit his earldom and the adjacent lands of Dyfed. 
He determined to repair the breaches which had been made by 
the late war and set about rebuilding the castle of Carmarthen, 
taken by the Welsh in 1137. With a view to operations 
against Ceredigion, which he no doubt hoped to recover for 
the house of Clare, he built a castle also in the commote of 
Mabudryd, at Pencader or in its neighbourhood.^^ He was 
not long in learning how weak the once dreaded Norman 
power had become. Cadell was provoked by these measures 
into reprisals ; with the aid of the youths, Maredudd and Rhys, 
he attacked in 11 46 the new castle of Mabudryd, ^^ took it 
by storm and slew the garrison. Hywel ab Owain, who held 
southern Ceredigion, came to his aid, and together they re- 

"1 " Gobeith a chedernyt a gogonyat y deheuwyr " {Bruts, 311). 

•"*'• Achastell arall ym mab udrut " (Bruts, 312; B.T. 166). For the 
situation of Mabudryd see p. 267 ; Spurrell's " Castell Moei," or Green Castle 
{Carm. 84), is in the wrong direction. 

"3 The identity is assumed of the castle in Mabudryd and "gastell din- 
weileir yr hwnn awnathoed gilbert larll " (Bruits, 312), in the absence of any 
other indication of the situation of " Dinweilir ". 
VOL. II. 10 


CHAP, peated the exploit of Hywel's father and captured the castle of 
Carmarthen. Llanstephan also fell into their victorious grasp. 
The Normans and Flemings of Dyfed, led by William and 
Maurice fitz Gerald and William fitz Hai,*** did their best to 
recover Carmarthen, so important a link in the chain of South 
Welsh castles, but the new daring and self-confidence of the 
Welsh comes to light in the bold resistance offered by the 
young Maredudd, who held the place stoutly against a force 
far larger than his own and flung down into the fosse the 
scaling ladders up which the enemy sought to swarm into 
the beleaguered fortress. These events left the Welsh masters 
of Eastern Dyfed. 

In the following year the unusual spectacle is presented of 
a quarrel among the foreign settlers turned by the Welsh to 
their own profit. Strife had arisen for some reason or other 
between William fitz Gerald and Walter fitz Wizo, the lord of 
Deugleddyf,^^ whereupon the former, half Welshman as he 
was, turned to Cadell and his brothers for aid against his 
fellow-baron. The opportunity was gladly seized ; not only 
Cadell, Maredudd and Rhys, but Hywel ab Owain also came, 
and the destruction of Walter's castle of Wiston, or Castell 
Gwis, as it was called by the Welsh, removed one more 
obstacle to the spread of Welsh influence in Dyfed. Cadell 
resolved to make Carmarthen the capital of his rapidly growing 
realm, and, having put the castle into a state of thorough 
repair, in 1150 further protected himself by widespread de- 
vastation of the region of Cydweli. At this point, however, 
his career came suddenly to an end. While engaged in the 
warrior's favourite pastime of hunting, probably in Coed Rhath, 
the great forest which then skirted Saundersfoot Bay,*^** he was 

64«]vieibon Geralt ystiwert a Gwilim ab Aed" (B.T. 168); " meibion 
Gerald a William or hay" (B. Saes. s.a. 1145). " Willelmus filius Hay" was a 
son of the famous Nest (perhaps by " Hait," sheriff of Pembroke in 1130), who 
held St. Clears (Gir. Camb. i. 28, 59). 

^5 B. Saes. treats William and Hywel as defenders of the castle against Cadell, 
but its authority as a translation is inferior to that of B.T., which in this case is 
supported by the evidence of Ann. Camb. MS. B. For Walter fitz Wizo see 
chap. xii. note 78, 

68 The conjecture is due to Laws {Lit. Eng. p. 115). For Coed Rhath see 
Owen, Pemb. i. 49, 86, 315-6. Leland notices it [Wales, p. 117), though not 
by name (" a wood not veri greate "). It gave its name to one of the three 
commotes of Cantref Penfro. 


set upon in 1 1 5 i by a party of knights and archers from the CHAP, 
neighbouring town of Tenby, who reckoned when they left him 
they had finished their work. In this they were mistaken ; 
Cadell still breathed and was in time cured of his wounds. 
But he never recovered his old position ; the shock had robbed 
him of his vigour and his zest for battle, and all that is hereafter 
recorded of him is that in 1 153 he went on pilgrimage to 
Rome "^^ and in 1175 died in the abbey of Strata Florida. 
Young as they were, Maredudd and Rhys were now the sole 
leaders of the men of South Wales. 

No slackening of effort was occasioned by the change of 
leadership. In the year of Cadell's eclipse as a ruler, his two 
brothers took advantage of their hold over Cydweli to carry 
their ravages yet further afield ; crossing the Loughor, they 
entered Gower, and, having destroyed the castle which guarded 
the passage of the river, devastated the region without mercy. 
East and west their power was felt, and the year 1 1 5 3 saw 
them triumph at points as far removed from each other as 
Tenby and Aberafan. The attack upon Cadell was avenged 
by the capture of the former of these two places, of which the 
gates were seized in a night surprise — a deed of daring well 
fitted to disturb and alarm the men of Penfro, who saw the 
Welsh almost at the portals of their great stronghold by the 
sea. It may well have been the occasion of the panic which 
Giraldus Cambrensis witnessed as a boy at Manorbier, a castle 
only five miles from that which was taken by Maredudd and 
Rhys.®^ He was but a child at the time, but he well re- 
membered the sudden night alarm, the wild rush to arms and 
to the shelter of the castle, and his own singular persistency in 
regarding the church, standing lonely on the hillside, as the real 
place of security in this hour of peril. The excitement, he 
says, soon passed away; the Welsh princes were not able to 
press home their victory. In the month of May they were at 
the other end of the Severn Sea, attacking the outskirts of 
Glamorgan. Their conquest of Gower enabled them to threaten 
this lordship, which by the death of Earl Robert of Gloucester 
in 1 147 had passed into the hands of his son William, and 

«■' This is the date implied by B.T. and B. Saes. Both MSS. of Ann. Catnb. 
assign the event to the year before Henry's first expedition, i.e., to 1156. 
•^^ De Rebus, i. i (i. 22). He was about seven years old in 1153. 

10 * 


CHAP, they destroyed the castle of Aberafan, held at this time, it 
^^^' seems likely, by Caradog ab lestyn in feudal subjection to the 

While the sons of Gruffydd ap Rhys had been thus winning 
triumphs at the expense of the Norman and the Fleming, they 
had been also engaged in another movement, no less profitable 
to the kingdom of Deheubarth. This was the expulsion of the 
men of Gwynedd from Ceredigion. The conquests of Owain 
and Cadwaladr had left this province in the possession of the 
northern dynasty ; Cadwaladr held the portion between the 
Aeron and the Dovey, while Hywel ab Owain ruled between the 
Aeron and the Teifi. In Cardigan itself it would seem as if 
Robert fitz Stephen still held the castle for the Clares, for, 
though Hywel and his brother Cynan in 1 145 raided the town 
and carried off much booty, they are not credited with the 
capture of the fortress which had so long resisted the onslaughts 
of the Welsh."*' This was the state of affairs until 1149, when 
Cadwaladr, having built a castle at Llanrhystud, handed it over 
with his portion of Ceredigion to his son Cadfan. Hywel 
deemed the moment a suitable one for aggression, and, seizing 
his cousin, possessed himself in 1 150 of his land and castle ; 
he was now lord of the whole province. But the southern 
princes, who had long been watching for their opportunity, 
now intervened ; Cadell, Maredudd and Rhys, vindicating the 
ancient territorial rights of their house, attacked Hywel and 
took from him all that he held to the south of the Aeron. In 
1 1 5 1 they pressed their advantage still further and won most 
of Northern Ceredigion, which they secured by rebuilding the 
Clare stronghold of Ystrad Meurig. They did not succeed at 
this time in capturing Hywel's chief castle at Llanfihangel "^^ 
and their conquest of Llanrhystud was only temporary, for 
Hywel recovered it before the end of the year."^ But two 

^^ See above, p. 440. 

'" The documents given (in English) in Card. Priory, 133-4, from the muni- 
ments of Gloucester Cathedral show that Gilbert Earl of Hertford (not Hereford) 
about 1 145, with the consent of Bishop Bernard, confirmed to St. Peter's, 
Gloucester, the church of Holy Trinity at Cardigan, then held by Edward the 

^^ " Castell aoed ympenn gwern yn llan vihangel " (Bruts, 316). Pen y 
warn is close to the village of Llanfihangel Geneu'r Glyn. 

^2 It is not easy to understand how Hywel was able at the end of this cam- 
paign of 1151, fought in North Cardiganshire, to fortify " gastell hwmfre yn 



years later the reconquest was complete ; Maredudd and Rhys, CHAP 
now deprived of the help of Cadell, gained entire possession of 
Penweddig, the northernmost of the four cantrefs of the pro- 
vince, and Ceredigion was once again attached to the crown of 
Deheubarth. No serious attempt was made to challenge the 
hard-won victory of the sons of Grufifydd ap Rhys ; there was, 
indeed, some talk of an invasion by Owain Gwynedd in 11 56, 
but Rhys forestalled matters by building a castle at the mouth 
of the Dovey, probably at Tomen Las (Green Mound), near 
Glandovey, where there is an ancient ford across the river, and 
thus warded off the threatened blow. 

Meanwhile, he had been left sole ruler of Deheubarth. His 
brother Maredudd, who had lived long enough to learn a reputa- 
tion not only for valour but also for wisdom, justice, and 
clemency,^^ died in 1 1 5 5 , at the early age of twenty-five. 
A strange fatality had pursued all the sons of Grufifydd of 
South Wales, with the exception of Rhys, who, though a mere 
youth, now bore, as the solitary representative of his house, 
the whole burden of the southern realm. But this single living 
shoot of an ancient and well-nigh blasted stock was full of 
vigour, and in time it became the sturdy trunk out of which 
there sprang a new and sprightly growth of branches. 

III. The Triumph of Owain. 

The victory of Henry H. in 11 57, though purchased at a 
heavy cost, was a clear and decisive one, and it was not un- 
reasonable for the king of England to suppose he had broken 
down all that was formidable in the Welsh resistance. Owain 
of Gwynedd had accepted his terms ; Madog of Powys was his 
close ally. It was true that Rhys of Deheubarth, not having 
yet experienced the weight of the royal arm, was still holding 
out in the south, but the course of events soon showed that he 
could not maintain a single-handed opposition. Thus not only 

dyffryn clettwr " {Bruts, 317 ; cf. B. Saes, s.a. 1150), though the name of Castell 
Hywel, still borne by the spot, points to a real connection. Possibly the notice 
has got out of its right place. 

■'^ Maredudd is praised, not only by B.T. (182-4), but also by Gir. Camb. 
(vi. 145 [Itin. ii. 12]), who further notices the singular fortune of Rhys, comparing 
it with the parallel case of Richard fitz Tancard, castellan of Haverford (vi. 85 
[Itin. i. ii]). 


CHAP. Henry, but Owain also, came to the conclusion that the Welsh 
XIV . 

power of resistance was for the time being at an end ; the unique 

opportunity of the anarchy had passed away, and every act of 
the king of Gwynedd during the next eight years reveals his 
conviction that nothing was to be gained, but on the other 
hand everything was in danger of being lost, by a continuance 
of the defiant attitude of the days of Stephen. Yet in truth 
the success of the English rested on no firm foundation ; it had 
been brought about by exceptionally favourable circumstances, 
and, when affairs began to assume a more normal aspect, the 
natural strength of the Welsh became evident, and they achieved 
a triumph which had lasting results. 

In the early part of 1 158 Rhys ap Gruffydd, whose career 
had hitherto been one of unimpeded progress, found that the 
day of reckoning with the English king was no longer to be 
postponed. His first impulse was to resist, and he concentrated 
for the purpose all that he and his people had in the forest re- 
treats of Ystrad Tywi. But the hot fit gave way to more sober 
counsels ; he was persuaded to journey across the border and 
place himself in the hands of Henry. In doing so he had to 
make up his mind to even larger sacrifices of territory than 
had been wrung by war from Owain Gwynedd, for the restora- 
tion of royal authority in South Wales meant the re-establish- 
ment of the barons in the lordships from which they had been 
ejected during the revolt, and notably of the Clares in Cere- 
digion and of the Cliffords in Cantref Bychan. Thus it was 
with sadly shorn power that Rhys returned to Deheubarth, as 
the lord of Cantref Mawr and some other scattered territories 
lying in the midst of baronial lands, and soon after, at the 
beginning of June, the new era was marked by the appearance 
in Ceredigion of Earl Roger of Hertford,''* who was come after 
twenty-two years to claim his father's inheritance, and who 
forthwith garrisoned the castles, so lately held by Rhys, at 
Ystrad Meurig, Castell Hywel, Aberdyfi, Dineirth ''^ and Llan- 
rhystud. About the same time Walter Clifford recovered 

"* Roger was the second son of the Richard fitz Gilbert who was killed in 
1136; his elder brother, Gilbert, the first Earl of Hertford, died without issue in 
1 152 and never held Ceredigion (Geoff. Mand. 271). 

'"' For this castle see chap. xiii. note 40. 


his hold upon Cantref Bychan and LlandoveryJ^ The new CHAP 
order was not readily accepted by the Welsh ; Rhys' s nephew, 
Einon ab Anarawd, destroyed Castell Hywel and slew the 
garrison, and the southern prince himself reopened hostilities 
against Clifford and Earl Roger. But, when Henry came west 
with banners flying for a second Welsh expedition, Rhys again 
made a complete submission,'^'^ and the king crossed to the 
Continent in the middle of August,'^^ no doubt believing that 
he had effectually disposed of the Welsh problem for many 

A dramatic incident of the year 11 58 deserves to be re- 
corded, not only for its own sake, but also as an illustration of 
the irrepressible spirit of independence which still lived in dis- 
tricts supposed to be completely subjected to baronial power. '^^ 
The hills of Senghenydd, between the Rhymney and the Taff, 
were at this time held, as a dependent barony of the lordship 
of Glamorgan, by one Ifor ap Meurig, whose wife, Nest, was 
a sister of Rhys ap Gruffydd. He was short of stature, and 
therefore known as " Ifor Bach," but no man excelled him 
in daring and resource. He first appears on the scene as the 
adversary of his next neighbour on the east, Morgan ab Owain 
of Gwynllwg and Caerleon, whom he waylaid and slew in this 
year 1158, with his chief bard, named Gwrgant ap Rhys.^** 
No increase of territory accrued to him as the result of this 
deed, for Morgan was succeeded by his brother lorwerth, who 
continued to hold Caerleon under the protection of the king. 

''^ There is no direct evidence of this, but an earlier date than 1158 seems 

" The statement of the Bruts {B. Saes. having here, it would seem, the 
better translation) is confirmed hy Ann. Theokesb. s.a. 1158: "Rex, facta pace 
cum Reso, transfretavit ". 

''s 14th August (Eyton, Itin. 40). 

'''For the story of this exploit see Gir. Camb. vi. 63-4 {Itin. i. 6); the date 
is supplied by Ann. Marg. s.a. 1158. B. Saes. s.a, 1175, preserving a notice 
which has dropped out of the Red Book text oi B.T., explains the connections 
of Ifor Bach. The sheriff of Worcestershire paid " luori paruo " four marks in 
1160-1 (Pipe Roll, 7 Henry H. 55). 

8»B.r. 188 (where the " Gwynedd " of MS. E. is a late blunder); B. 
Saes. s.a. 1157 (= 1158). The "^rydyd" of the Red Book {Bruts, 320) is a 
scribal error ; cf. Mostyn MS. 116 in Evans, Rep. i. p. 60. For Morgan and lor- 
werth ab Owain see pp. 471 and 478 above. The Pipe Roll 3 Hen. H. (i 156-7) 
is the last in which Morgan's name appears ; in and after Michaelmas, 1158, the 
entry under " terrae datae " (Gloucestershire) is " Et filio [for fratrij Morgani 
xl. s, bl. in Carliun ", 


CHAP. But Ifor now flew at larger game, and, having a quarrel with his 
overlord, Earl William, as to the extent of his holding, deter- 
mined to carry his point by an expedient of surpassing bold- 
ness. His plan was to kidnap the earl, with the countess and 
the heir to the earldom, in their castle of Cardiff, carry them off 
to Senghenydd, and then make his own terms for their safe 
restitution. It was a scheme beset with enormous difficulties ; 
the castle was strongly walled and well furnished with watch- 
men ; the town at its foot was full of knights, archers and 
other troops — nothing could be done by mere force, and to at- 
tempt a capture by stealth was to run the gauntlet of a hundred 
accidents which could not be foreseen. Nevertheless, with the 
aid of ladders, and, probably, of secret allies within the castle, 
Ifor and his companions gained access to the earl's apart- 
ments, seized him, the Countess Hawise, and their young son 
Robert,^^ and were in their own inaccessible woods before a 
hand could be lifted against them. The exploit served its im- 
mediate purpose, for Ifor's demands were conceded, but it did 
still more in demonstrating that the Welsh of Glamorgan, 
though conquered, were not yet crushed, and that it was dan- 
gerous to drive them to the wall. 

An important element in Henry's victory over Owain Gwyn- 
edd had been the support given him by Madog ap Maredudd, 
whose sway extended over the whole of Powys. Madog had 
lost something by the accession of a strong king to power, for 
Oswestry was now recovered by William fitz Alan, who in 
July, 1 1 55, was received into Henry's favour and reinstated 
as sheriff of Shropshire. ^^ But he had gained what was of 
more account — a protector against the aggression of Gwynedd, 
and he continued on the best of terms with the king until his 
death. This took place early in 1 1 60, when Madog was laid 
to rest in the soil of the holiest sanctuary of his realm, the 
church of Tysilio in Meifod.^^ The passing of so notable a 

81 He died in 1166 (Ann. Marg.), leaving only sisters to inherit. 

^^Eyton, Shrops. i. pp. 250-1. 

8' I can find no authority for the statement of Powel (153) that Madog died 
at Winchester, except the narrative of Rhys Cain (Cae Cyriog MS. in Powys 
Fadog, i. 119-120), which tells an impossible story and confuses John Fitzalan 
II. (tlie real son-in-law of Rohese of Verdun) with his great grandfather, the con- 
temporary of Madog. See Eyton, Shrops. vii. p. 252. Gwalchmai's elegy gives 
the season of the year as " dechreu gaiawys," i.e., about gth February (Myv. 


prince moved more than one bard of his time to vigorous CHAP. 
^ XIV. 

verse : — 

If hearts can break for weight of sorrow, 
sang Cynddelw the Great, 

Mine will be rent in twain. 

Now that he was gone, men were bold against Powys, but 

While Madog lived, there was no man 

Durst ravage his fair borders. 

Yet nought of all he held 

Esteemed he his save by God's might.** 

Gwalchmai, too, bemoaned the loss of " the roof timber of 
Powys, the mighty dragon of dragons ".^^ The epoch was, 
indeed, a notable one, affecting both the internal history and 
the external policy of Powys. Madog's eldest son, Llywelyn, 
described as the " sole hope " of the realm, was killed very 
shortly after his father, and there resulted a division of the 
territory between Owain Cyfeiliog, lorwerth the Red and Ma- 
dog's other sons, Gruffydd, Owain Fychan and Owain Brogyn- 
tyn, which finally broke up the unity of Powys ; never again 
was it under the rule of a single prince. The policy of con- 
sistent friendship with the English court also came to an end ; 
though Owain Cyfeiliog and lorwerth sometimes recurred to 
it, it was not even for them a uniform principle of action, and 
in any case it could not be, under the altered circumstances, 
the menace to Gwynedd it had been in the hands of Madog. 
When Owain Cyfeiliog and Owain Fychan are found joining in 
II 63 to assault and destroy the royal castle of Carreghofa, it 
is clear that one at least of the conditions which gave Henry 
his early advantage over the Welsh has disappeared.^^ 

A rch . I. 202 [149]). The churchyard of Meifod anciently included three churches, 
dedicated to Gwyddfarch, Tysilio and the Virgin (Thomas, St. Asaph, pp. 777-9) ; 
of these the last had been consecrated as recently as 1156 {B.T. 184). 

^*Myv. Arch. I. 212 {155). ^^ Ibid. 201 (148). 

^ B. Saes. s.a. 1162 has the correct reading, " Owein ap Grufud ac (not ap) 
Owein ap Madoc". The Maredudd ap Hywel who acted vnth them was prob- 
ably the lord of Edeyrnion who in 1176 gave " Esgen gaynauc " (Esgair 
Gaenog, near Gwyddelwern) to the monks of Ystrad Marchell {Mont. Coll. iv. 
[1871], 21). " Kaer offa" {Bruts, 323) is a fancy form found in the Red Book, 
but not in the other texts of B.T. — see Ab Ithel's note, p. 197. The Pipe Rolls 
for the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and gth years of Henry II., i.e., from 1158 to 1163, 


CHAP. Owain Gwynedd was not at all slow to realise the import- 

ance of the death of Madog as affecting the balance of power 
between Powys and Gwynedd. The elegy of Cynddelw bears 
its testimony to his aggressions — 

If my noble master were alive, 

Gwynedd would not now be encamped in the heart of Edeyrnion."'' 

Moreover, it is on record that in 1162 Owain was in posses- 
sion of Cyfeiliog and its castle of Tafolwern. Hywel ab leuaf, 
of the adjacent cantref of Arwystli, in that year took the castle 
by surprise, but was driven out by the prince of Gwynedd, 
who ravaged Hywel's lands as far as Llandinam, defeated him 
with great slaughter in a pitched battle, and refortified the 
captured stronghold. ^^ But Owain did not allow the changed 
situation in Powys to modify in any way his attitude towards 
the English government. " Quieta non movere " was still his 
motto in this respect, and a diplomatic correctness the aim of 
his whole policy. 

In flat contrast to the prudence of his northern comrade 
was the restless daring and unquenchable energy of Rhys ap 
Gruffydd. The peace which he made with the king on the eve 
of the latter's departure for France lasted but a few months ; in 
1 1 59 the South Welsh prince was again in arms, attacking the 
castles of Dyfed. He laid siege, among others, to Carmarthen 
and put the place in such peril as to bring upon the scene a 
powerful relieving force, led by Earl Reginald of Cornwall.^'' 
This proved a momentary check to his progress ; he was forced 

regularly contain entries (62, 26, 38, 15, 3) of payments made by the sheriff of 
Shropshire for the maintenance of the castle and garrison of" Carrecoel," but, 
in conformity with the statement of the Bruts, the castle is not mentioned after 
Michaelmas, 1163. 

^'' Myv. Arch. I. 212 (155). It is possible that the references in Pipe Roll, 6 
Hen. II. p. 26, to the repair and custody of the Castle of " Dernio" or " Der- 
mant " on behalf of the crown may have to do with an attempt made by the Eng- 
lish king in 1160 to protect Edeyrnion from the attacks of Owain. 

^8 For Hywel ab leuaf see note 24 above. Ann. C, MSS. B. and C, and 
B. Saes. have the form " Walwern," but this appears to be inferred from " cas- 
tellum d^walwern," or, as the Red Book has it, " daualuern " (Bruts, 322, 325), 
which in modern parlance becomes " Tafolwern ". Possibly the true form is the 
" dywalwern " of Cynddelw (Myv. Arch. I. 241 [175]). 

s" Pipe Roll, 5 Hen. II. 21 shows that during 1158-9 the sheriff of Somerset 
paid 20 marks (due from him to the crown) towards the cost of the defences of 


to retire to the wilds of Cantref Mawr and entrench himself in CHAP, 
his castle of Dinweiler. But the attempt of the English to 
improve upon this victory and overwhelm Rhys himself was a 
notable fiasco, which only served to bring out the high courage 
of the prince and the defensive strength of his position. Five 
earls, namely, Reginald of Cornwall, William of Gloucester, 
Roger of Hertford, Richard of Pembroke and Patrick of Salis- 
bury,^" marched together to hunt Rhys out of his lair ; they 
were accompanied by Cadwaladr of Gwynedd, with his nephews 
Hywel and Cynan, whose presence, no doubt, signified that their 
father wished to repudiate all sympathy with the rebellion. Yet, 
notwithstanding this imposing array of forces, Rhys held his 
ground ; his enemies found him too strongly posted to venture 
upon an assault against him, and parted company without hav- 
ing effected anything. A little later he agreed to a truce which 
enabled him to dismiss his followers to their homes. 

During the next two or three years Rhys kept comparatively 
quiet. Owain Gwynedd still pursued the policy of propitiating 
the supreme power ; when in 1 1 60 Cadwallon ap Madog of 
Maelienydd seized his brother Einion Clud ®^ and made him 
over as a captive to the northern prince, Owain promptly handed 
him to the custody of the crown.^^ In 1162, however, Rhys 
once again raised the banner of revolt ; he attacked and took 
the castle of Llandovery. For some years the government 
had recognised the insecurity of this stronghold and had dis- 
bursed large sums for its defence, as though it were one of the 
buttresses of the realm and more was involved in its mainten- 
ance than the private interest of Walter Clifford.''^ Neverthe- 
less, it fell, and the name no longer appeared in the royal re- 
cords. The time had now come, however, when the king, whose 

^o Ann. Camb. MS. B. and the Bruts furnish the names of three of the earls, 
viz., those of Cornwall, " Bristol " [cf. " comes Bricstowensis Robertus " in Cont. 
Fl. Wig. 134) and Clare. The complete list is given by the poet Seisyll Bryf- 
fwrch in his reference to the repulse of the " pumieirll taer " ; he styles them 
" iarll cernyw," " iarll brysteu," " iarll gwent " (Earl Richard was lord of Striguil), 
" iarll padrig " and " iarll clar " (Myv. Arch. I. 340 [237]). 

"1 See chap. xiii. note 59. 

*2 He was imprisoned in Worcester Castle, but contrived to escape. 

""In Pipe Roll, 6 Hen. \\. (1159-60), payments of ;^4i (23), £^s 3S- 6d. (28), 
and ;;^i8 5s. (30) appear in respect of the castle of " Canter bohhan " ; in the next 
roll (1160-1) the amounts are £63 (22), £82 12s. and £44 12s. 6d. (54), and in 
that of 8 Hen. H. (1161-2), £21 (56). 


CHAP, long absence abroad had been so favourable to the enterprises 
of Rhys,^* was again to give his personal attention to the affairs 
of South Wales, and no sooner did he show himself on the scene 
of action than it was seen how accurately Owain Gwynedd had 
gauged the situation. Henry returned to England in January, 
1163 ; a few months later he was on the way to Glamorgan, 
surrounded by a force which left no doubt as to his intention 
thoroughly to subdue the rebellious prince.®^ Superstition, no 
less than motives of a more ordinary kind, cleared the way be- 
fore him ; it was bruited abroad that he was the " freckled man 
of might " of a prophecy current among the Welsh,^^ whose 
crossing of the Ford of Pencarn,®^ not far from Newport on the 
Usk, would be of evil omen to the land. Hope clutched for a 
moment at the possibility that this man of fate might not cross 
by the ancient ford, which was now usually discarded for an- 
other, and that thus the spell might be broken. But, as ill-luck 
would have it, Henry's horse, startled by a blast of unaccustomed 
strength which was blown in honour of the king by the native 
trumpeters, shied at the usual crossing place and could not be 
persuaded to ford the stream, until, cantering along the bank, 
it reached the ancient point of passage and thus fulfilled the 
ominous prediction. Henry's progress was thereafter unop- 
posed, not only in Glamorgan and in Gower, but even in Rhys's 
own sphere of influence. He passed through Carmarthen, and, 
crossing the defiles of the Gwili at last came upon his foe at 
Pencader, on the confines of Ceredigion. 

All that is certainly known of the meeting is that Rhys, 
offering no resistance, surrendered himself to the king. It is 
suggested in one quarter that this was done by the advice of 
Owain Gwynedd,^^ but the same writer elsewhere speaks as if 
the submission had been obtained by a trick.^^ Be this as it 

8^ According to Herbert of Bosham {Mat. Hist. Becket, iii. 180), the mission 
of Thomas of London (then chancellor) to England in May, 1162, partly arose 
out of the disturbances in Wales. 

8^ For this expedition and its incidents see Ann. Camb., B.T., B. Saes., Ann. 
Marg., Gir. Camb. v, 374 {Exp. Hib. ii, 31) ; vi, 62-3 {Itin. i. 6), 81-2 (i. 10), 138 
(ii. 10). 

"6 Attributed to Merlin, but not in any known collection of prophecies bear- 
ing his name. 

»■' Believed by Hoare (i. 130) to be the old ford across the Ebbw. The name 
Pencarn is still preserved in the neighbourhood. 

»8" Interventu Oeni avunculi sui" (Gir, Camb. v. 374). 

»»«« Ad deditionem dolose magiB quam virtuose compulso" {ibid. vi. 81). 


may, Rhys was now a prisoner and accompanied the king on CHAP, 
his return to England by way of Ceredigion, Maelienydd and 
Radnor.^**" The future of Cantref Mawr was in the balance ; 
should the captive prince be reinstated at Dinefwr, or an attempt 
be made to reduce the district to subjection ? If one were to 
believe the tale which passed from lip to lip in those days, it 
would be necessary to suppose that the decision in favour of 
Rhys was obtained by hoodwinking the king. He sent a Breton 
knight, we are told, to survey the country, and this man was 
taken by his guide, a priest of Cantref Mawr,^^^ through the 
roughest and wildest parts of the cantref, until he was ready to 
swear that the king had nothing to gain by the annexation of 
such a desert, or by the conquest of a people so savage that at 
a pinch they could subsist on roots and herbs, as he had seen 
the priest do with his own eyes. A statesman like Henry, one 
may confidently aver, was not thus easily misled ; his resolve 
to send Rhys back to Dinefwr was no doubt based upon the 
consideration that the Welsh were not to be dislodged from 
their last retreat, and, if deprived of their former leader, would 
merely set another in his place. Hence Rhys was allowed on 
1st July to do homage at Woodstock to the king and to his 
heir, with Malcolm of Scotland and Owain of North Wales,^"^ 
and soon afterwards reappeared at his ancestral home on the 
banks of the Towy. 

His experiences had in no way blunted the edge of his 
appetite for war. Scarcely was he re-established as lord of 
Cantref Mawr ere he began to make preparations for resuming 
the conflict. It was easy to find good grounds for doing so ; 
in 1 163, probably during his enforced absence from South 
Wales,^**^ his gallant nephew, Einon ab Anarawd, had been 
treacherously murdered as he slept by one of his own men, 
Walter ap Llywarch. When the murderer was sheltered from 

100 "Per Elennyth ac Mailennyth usque Radenoram " (Gir. Camb. vi. 138). 
Elenydd is the Plinlimmon region ; see Gir. Camb. i. 117; vi. 119, 170, 171, 173 ; 
Mab. 62 ; Owen, Pemb. i. 203 (where it is derived from the river Elan and identi- 
fied with Cymwd Deuddwr). 

101 '< Decani [i.e., rural dean] de Cantrefmaur." The cantref was included 
in 1291 in the deanery of Ystrad Tywi, but it may well have been a separate 
deanery at this date. 

loaDiceto, i. 311. 

103 This may be inferred from the position of the notice in the record of the 
year's doings in B. T. and B. Sues. 


CHAP, vengeance by the power of Earl Roger of Hertford,^*^^ Rhys had 
a substantial motive for attacking Ceredigion, and accordingly 
in 1 1 64 he entered the province, destroyed the chief castle of 
the commote of Mabwnion,^"^ and also a new one placed at 
the mouth of the Rheidol,^''^ and ravaged far and wide, until 
little else but the town and castle of Cardigan remained in 
English hands. Henry saw that his campaign of the previous 
year had been labour lost and began to prepare for another 
which should do its work more thoroughly ; at the Council of 
Northampton, held in October, 11 64, he asked for and was 
promised a large levy of foot soldiers, suitable for Welsh war- 
fare, wherewith to chastise the shameless breaker of treaties.^'^'^ 

But the patience of Owain and the persistence of Rhys 
were now alike to meet with their reward. Even more than the 
disunion of Wales, the solid unity of England under its vig- 
orous and popular young king had been a stumbling-block in 
the path of the Welsh patriot. It was at the Council of Wood- 
stock in 1 163 that the great quarrel between Henry and Arch- 
bishop Thomas took its rise ; during the ensuing fifteen months 
it grew more and more formidable, and in the very Council of 
Northampton at which measures were devised for crushing 
Rhys, the archbishop was subjected to such persecution as to 
induce him not long afterwards to quit the realm. Although 
outwardly the king's power had suffered no diminution, the 
controversy caused an acute division of public opinion, and 
Henry had no longer the support of a united people. There 
can be no doubt that it was the commotion in England which 
emboldened Owain, after years of waiting, to join Rhys in 
throwing down the gage of battle, and, with two such leaders 
committed to an offensive policy, the lesser princes were not 
long in declaring their hostility also, so that at the end of the 
year, as the St. David's chronicle has it, " all the Welsh of 
Gwynedd, Deheubarth and Powys with one accord cast oflf the 

i"*I follow Ann. Camb. MS. B. B.T. and B. Sues, both mistranslate. 

105 Pqj the situation of Mabwnion see p. 259. 

106 " Castell aber reidawl " {Bruts, 323) only appears here under this name. 
It would seem as if, after the destruction of the last Aberystwyth Castle of the 
older situation (for this see p. 426) in 1143, the chief stronghold of the dis- 
trict had been moved to the mouth of the Rheidol, a position which it ever after- 
wards retained, though people still insisted upon calling it Aberystwyth. 

107 Mat. Hist. Becket, iii. 70. 


Norman yoke ".^"^ The decisive hour had come in the struggle CHAP, 
for Welsh independence. • 

Henry perceived that it was now no mere question of 
putting down Rhys ap Gruffydd, but that he had to deal with 
a widespread movement of most formidable proportions. He 
prepared for the campaign, therefore, with all the care requisite 
for a great undertaking.^**^ Troops were requisitioned from all 
parts of his wide empire, from Normandy, from Anjou, from 
Scotland, from Poitou and from Aquitaine.^^** Mercenaries 
came from Flanders and elsewhere, and in the records of the 
reign one may read how the sheriffs of London paid ;^30 for 
shields and nearly £idfO for clothing for a group of these law- 
less adventurers.^^^ The feudal host was summoned and the 
great magnates were pressed, not only to furnish their proper 
quota of heavy cavalry, but also, as had been settled at North- 
ampton, to supply serving men who would fight on foot.^^^ 
Lances, arrows and coats of mail were sent down to Shrews- 
bury ,^^^ where the host was to assemble. Messengers of the 
king treated with the Danes of Dublin for the services of a fleet 
to harass the coast of Gwynedd. In order that nothing should 
interfere with the task set for the summer, Henry devoted 
the spring to a short continental visit, during which he came to 
terms with the foreign powers most likely to disturb his plans, 
the king of France and the Count of Flanders,^^* When he 
returned, about the middle of May, he found the war already 
begun. Owain Gwynedd's son Dafydd had crossed the 
Clwydian range into Tegeingl and carried back much plunder 
into the cantref of Dyffryn Clwyd. The castles of Rhuddlan 
and Basingwerk were in serious danger, and the king's first step 
was to lead a hurried expedition to their relief, with such forces 

108 ^„„. Camh. MS. B. 

lo^For the events of this campaign see Ann. Camb., B.T,, B. Sues., Gir. 
Camb. vi. 138 {Itin. ii. 10), 143-4 (ii. 12) ; R. de Torigni, s.a. 1164, 1165. 

11" So Wm. Newb. ii. 18 — " immenso tarn ex regno quam ex transmarinis 
provinciis exercitu adunato ". The "prydein" oi B.T. (Bruts, 324) is more 
correctly " prydyn," as in B. Saes., i.e., Scotland {Celt. Br. (3) p. 241). 

Ill " Et pro uestiendis coterellis, ;^i37 gs. 8d. per breve regis. . . . Et pro 
ccc targis coterellorum Ernulfo scutario, ;^3o per breve regis" (Pipe Roll, 11 
Hen. n. 31). 

^^^ Feudal England, pp. 265-6, 282-4. With the " promissio servientium" 
cf. the " promissa multitudo " of the Council of Northampton. 

118 Pipe Roll, II Hen. II. 31, 68, 73. 

ii*Eyton, Itin. 77-9. For Henry's fears see Mat. Hist. Becket, v. 174. 


CHAP, as chanced to be at hand.^^^ He only spent three or four days 
in the district, for he did not wish to disarrange the elaborate 
preparations which had been made for an attack upon the 
grand scale. Accordingly, at the end of July he was in 
Shrewsbury at the head of a great host and shortly afterwards 
arrived at Oswestry,"® whence it was his purpose, no doubt, to 
follow the old line of march across the mountains to Mur 

The gravity of the crisis was by no means lost upon the 
Welsh. Menaced by a more powerful fighting force than had 
ever been got together for the subjugation of Wales, they drew 
to each other in a close union and confederacy of which earlier 
Welsh history can scarcely show an example. Gwynedd, 
Powys, Deheubarth, Rhwng Gwy a Hafren, presented a solid 
front. In this hour of trial, the proved worth of Owain Gwyn- 
edd won for him unquestioned leadership ; with his brother 
Cadwaladr, he assembled the men of Gwynedd at Corwen, in 
the vale of Edeyrnion, where Henry's passage might be effectu- 
ally resisted, and thither there came to his aid Rhys ap Gruffydd 
from the south, Owain Cyfeiliog, lorwerth the Red, and the 
sons of Madog ap Maredudd from Powys, Cadwallon ap Madog 
and his brother Einion Clud from the lands between the upper 
waters of the Wye and the Severn. It was the crowning 
moment of Owain's career, and, though he did not actually 
engage the king's army at close quarters, the victory won was 
more truly his than that of any other chief in the great gather- 
ing of Edeyrnion. 

The English army moyed westward from Oswestry and 
soon found itself in the thick forest growth of the Ceiriog 
valley.^^'' Here it was received by a band of skirmishers, who, 
although without regular leaders, boldly harassed the invaders 
from the shelter of the overhanging woods and did no small 
execution. Henry ordered a general clearing of the timber, and, 

115 This hasty visit to Rhuddlan is only mentioned in the Bruts, but, as 
pointed out in Feudal England, p. 284, it is implied in the reference in Pipe Roll, 
II Hen. II. 109 to "ii exercitibus ". 

118 Henry granted a charter to the abbey of Prdaux in Normandy " apud 
Album Monasterium in Valliis " {Cal. Doc. Fr. i. 116). 

11'' Probably at Tregeiriog. Tradition locates the skirmish between Henry 
and the Welsh at Adwy'r Beddau, near Chirk Castle (Powel, 186-7 > Penn. i. 
363-4), but this spot is off the natural line of the king's march. 


having thus secured an open space for his passage, began to CHAP, 
ascend the bare slopes of the Berwyn range, which here rise to a 
height of nearly 2,000 feet. The road along which he and his 
troops made their laborious way is still known as " Ffordd y 
Saeson " — the English Road ; ^^^ it leads across wild stretches 
of heath and bog to the pass from which one descends to the 
valley of the Dee. Here there was little to fear from the on- 
slaughts of the enemy, but much from the unkindness of nature. 
In a reasonably dry August the transit across these inhospitable 
moors might have been easily accomplished, but on this occasion 
the skies put on their most wintry aspect ; rain fell in torrents ^^^ 
and flooded the mountain meadows, until the English camp 
became a morass. The ample scale of the expedition now 
became its bane ; the host was too unwieldy to transport 
across the heights in the teeth of a hurricane of wind and rain 
and under the vigilant eye of an unsleeping foe. Moreover, the 
problem of feeding it had become serious ; the original store of 
provisions, diminished, it may be, by the ravages of the storm, 
was all but exhausted, and it was idle to hope to replenish it in 
the enemy's country. No step could have been more repugnant 
to the king than that which he now perceived to be inevitable 
— to return to his base of operations without having won even 
the semblance of a victory. Yet it was all he could do ; wrath- 
ful and baffled, he led his weary troops back to the Shropshire 
plains, and, having failed to lay hands on the Welsh, vented his 
spleen upon their unhappy hostages. Twenty-two of these, 
including two sons of Owain Gwynedd and a son of Rhys ap 
Gruffydd, were cruelly mutilated to satiate the king's rage.^^" 
There was still one other weapon he could use, and he hastened 
to Chester ^^i to meet the naval contingent from Dublin and 
other Danish ports which he had hired for the harrying of the 
coast of Gwynedd.^'-^^ But here again it was his fate to en- 

"8 Arch. Camb. IV. xiii. (1882), 102. 

"8 Gir. Camb. (vi. 143 [Itin. ii. 12]) agrees with the Briits that Henry was 
turned back " subita et inopinata pluvialium aquarum inundatione ". Wm. 
Newb. (ii. 18) blames the " inextricabiles locorum difficultates ". 

12" C/. Ann. Waverl. s.a. 1165 : "rex . , . perdidit obsides regis Audoeni "• 
Rhys had three sons named Maredudd, but this was no doubt the " Maredudd 
Ddall (the Blind) " who died in 1239 (B.T.). 

^^^ For this visit see Eyton, Itin. 83. 

^^ Ann. Ult. s.a. 1165 refer to this campaign and the aid given by the 
foreigners of Dublin. 

VOL. n. H 

St8 history of wales. 

CHAP, counter disappointment ; the ships which found their way 
• there were too few to effect his purpose, and he sent them back 
to Ireland without attempting this part of his programme. 

Thus the great English armament had come to nought. 
Nor was its failure accidental ; Henry showed that in his eyes 
the defeat was final by abandoning the idea of a conquest of 
Wales. He made no preparations during the following winter 
to wipe out the ignominy of his inglorious retreat, but contented 
himself with strengthening the border castles,^^^ and, when the 
spring came, he turned, not to Wales, but to the Continent. He 
sailed from Southampton in March, 1 1 66, and was absent from 
England for fully four years. Everything goes to show that he 
looked on the Berwyn disaster as the grave of his Welsh am- 
bitions. It was true that he had not crossed swords with the 
leaders of -the Welsh, but the elements had done their work for 
them ; the stars in their courses had fought against the pride of 
England and humbled it to the very dust. To conquer a land 
which was defended, not merely by the arms of its valiant and 
audacious sons, but also by tangled woods and impassable bogs, 
by piercing winds and pitiless storms of rain, seemed a hopeless 
task, and Henry resolved no longer to attempt it. 

The gathering of princes at Corwen broke up with the sense 
that the dark cloud which had overhung their land had passed 
away and that once again it was possible to breathe the air of 
freedom. There were some to whom the deliverance seemed to 
be the direct act of God, a manifestation of Divine displeasure 
against the English. For, the night before the catastrophe, the 
invaders had burnt several Welsh churches, an act which stirred 
up the younger Welshmen to thoughts of retaliation, until the 
wise Owain pointed out that it behoved them, as the weaker 
side, to make sure of Divine favour, and that the sacrilege of the 
foe was a certain presage of destruction.^^* Assured of the 
safety of their land, the princes went their several ways, and, 
with his usual impetuosity, Rhys ap Gruffydd took in hand 
without delay the completion of the conquest of Ceredigion. 

1^ R. de Torigni, s.a. 1166 (p. 226). For the efforts made to retain the castles 
of Rhuddlan, Basingwerk, and Prestatyn see Pipe Roll, 12 Hen. H. p. 67 ; 13 do. 
pp. 77, 140, 160 ; 14 do. p. 199. 

^^^ The incident is recorded in Gir. Camb. vi. 143-4 {Itin, ii, 12), in a passage 
added by the author in the segond edition of the Itinerary, 


He had gained possession of almost the whole of the province, chap. 
but the castle of Cardigan was still tenaciously held for Earl ^^^* 
Roger by its castellan, Robert fitz Stephen. This last remnant 
of Norman power in a district in which it had once been su- 
preme now passed into Welsh hands ; about i st November the 
castle was betrayed to Rhys by a Welsh cleric named Rhygy- 
farch and was forthwith razed to the ground. The garrison 
were allowed to retire from the place with the half of their 
goods, but the doughty Robert was cast into prison, where he 
remained for more than three years.^^s Soon afterwards Rhys 
captured the Carew stronghold of Cilgerran, and thus had 
Emlyn within his grasp ; his territory now embraced Ceredigion, 
Ystrad Tywi and a large part of Dyfed. He had, in short, re- 
covered the position which he held when Henry first encountered 
him, and, as the event proved, had finally disposed of the Clares 
in Ceredigion and the Cliffords in Cantref Bychan. Attempts 
made in 11 66 to shake his position in the lower valley of the 
Teifi were fruitless ; though a Norman and Flemish army de- 
vastated the commote of Iscoed and twice essayed the recapture 
of Cilgerran, he was not dislodged from his conquests. The 
defeat of the king had inspired the Welsh of all Wales with 
new hope and courage and in like measure had discouraged 
and depressed the foreign garrison. 

Owain Gwynedd was more deliberate in his movements, 
but no less purposeful. He set himself to destroy the royal 
castles in Tegeingl which had been built in 1157 and which 
prevented the extension of his territory westward to the Dee. 
First, he attacked Basingwerk and in 1 1 66 took it ; the troops 
sent by the king in the autumn to rebuild it under the Earls of 
Leicester and Essex were scattered by a sudden onset of the 
Welsh,^^** and no fortress was ever again erected on the spot, 
which was left to the monks of the Cistercian abbey. In 1 167 
the more difficult problem of capturing Rhuddlan was taken up ; 
the forces of Gwynedd were deemed scarcely equal to the enter- 

125 vvith the accounts in Ann. C. and the Bruts cf. Gir. Camb. v. 229 {Exp. 
Hib. i. 2) and B.T. s.a. 1171 (p. 212). His name suggests that Rhygyfarch may 
have been a member of the famous clerical family descended from Bishop Sulien — 
see note appended to chap. xii. 

^2" See a letter from " frater Nicolaus " of Rouen to Archbishop Thomas 
in Mat. Hist. Bechet, vi. 77. Its date is clearly November, 1166, Cf. also 
Eyton, Itin. 99, 

II * 


CHAP, prise, and Rhys ap Gruffydd was called in from the south to aid 
^^V- Owain and Cadwaladr in their undertaking. For three months 
the siege was carried on, months during which the garrison 
looked in vain for relief, for Henry was abroad and deeply im- 
mersed in his continental troubles. At last, at the end of the 
year, the resistance broke down and Owain won the castle. He 
destroyed it, together with the neighbouring stronghold of Pres- 
tatyn, and thus gained undisputed possession of Tegeingl.^^^ 
The victory was one which worthily closed his military career, 
for it was the culminating triumph of a long series of successes 
won by him and by his father, which had extended the bounds 
of Gwynedd to the Dovey and the Dee. 

It was not to be expected that the close union of all the 
Welsh princes which signalised the year of Henry's great attack 
would survive the removal of the danger which had brought it 
about. Owain and Rhys, indeed, remained firm friends and 
allies, but the princes of Powys were once again divided, some 
taking the Welsh and some the English side. The first to 
make his submission to the government was lorwerth the Red. 
lorwerth's adhesion to the patriotic cause was but a temporary 
aberration; he had been with the king in 1157 and had then 
received Sutton, near Wenlock, and other manors in Shrop- 
shire on condition of acting as the king's " latimer " or emissary 
to the Welsh.^^^ He now returned to his former allegiance 
and seems to have been rewarded by being placed in pos- 
session, in April, 11 66, of the border castle of Chirk.^^" His 
nephews, Owain ap Madog and Owain Cyfeiliog, resented his 
action, and in the same year drove him out of Mochnant, which 
they divided between them, making the Rhaeadr the line of 
separation. It is noteworthy that this division became a per- 
manent one, dividing Northern and Southern Powys, and, in 
later times, the counties of Montgomery and Denbigh. Next 
year saw Owain Cyfeiliog also on the English side ; he was 

"■^ One result of the victory of 1165 was that Godfrey, the Norman bishop 
of St. Asaph, who had been consecrated to that see in 1160 (Gervase, ii. 385 ; 
Reg. Sacr. (2), 48), was forced to retire from the district. The king gave him a 
position as administrator of the abbey of Abingdon (Chronicon Monasterii de 
Abingdon, 1858, ii. 234-5, 293 ; H. and St. i. 362-4 ; Eyton, IHn. 88-9). 

^^^ Eyton, Shrops. ii. p. 109. 

129 Cf. the entries as to Chirk in Pipe Roll, 11 Hen. H. p. 90 ; 12 do. p. 59, 
and 14, p. no. 


attacked by Owain, Cadwaladr and Rhys in the interest of CHAP, 

• XIV 

Owain ap Madog, upon whom was bestowed his commote of 
Caereinion, and in his extremity turned to his English neigh- 
bours, with whom he had probably already entered into re- 
lations.^^** Their aid soon re-established him in Caereinion, and 
henceforth he was generally on the king's side in the border 

These closing years of Owain's life were filled with conflict 
in another sphere than the military, namely, the ecclesiastical. 
In 1 161 or 1 1 62 Meurig, bishop of Bangor, died, and thus the 
old dispute was reopened as to the control of the English over 
the see.^^^ Owain, it would seem, desired to promote to it one 
of the clergy of the diocese, named Arthur,^^^ but was opposed 
by the king. When the Archbishop of Canterbury was forced 
to quit the realm in 11 64, the prince of Gwynedd hoped to 
take advantage of the situation to checkmate Henry ; he sug- 
gested to Thomas in 1 165 that the new bishop should be con- 
secrated by another prelate, since he was out of reach himself, 
but that he should nevertheless render canonical obedience to 
Canterbury. The archbishop was too astute to agree to what 
might prove to be a most dangerous precedent, and ordered 
that no election be for the present made. Owain paid no 
heed to this request, but, having exacted an oath from the 
chapter that they would elect no one save with his consent, 
obtained the election of Arthur and sent him to Ireland for 
consecration. The Archdeacon David, who had sworn fealty 
to the archbishop and had been entrusted by him with the 
custody of the see, deserted the cause of Canterbury and 
abetted these proceedings. It was in vain that Thomas, in 
the early part of 1166, summoned the archdeacon and other 
leading clergy of the diocese to meet him and elect in accord- 
ance with his wishes, in vain that Alexander III. added to his 
injunctions the weight of papal authority. Owain and the 
chapter remained obdurate, nor was any bishop elected so 

ISO Pipe RqIi^ J 2 Hen. W. 59, records a payment of loos., " nuntiis Oeni de 
Chiuiliac " in the year 1165-6. 

^31 The correspondence is to be found in H. and St. i. 364-75 ; Mat. Hist. 
Becket, V. 225-38. 

132 «' De Bardsey," according to B. Willis, Bangor, p. 121. The surname, 
as given in the MSS. of the letters, is not to be identified. 


CHAP, as to win recognition from Canterbury and Rome for many 

The last two events of Owain's long and brilliant career 
were his dispatch of an embassy in 1 168 to the court of Louis 
VII., offering him help in his war with Henry II. and hostages 
as a pledge of good faith/ ^^ and his steadfast refusal to put 
away his wife Cristin, or Christina, whom the archbishop and 
the pope required him to give up as being of kin to him within 
the prohibited degrees.^^* She was the daughter of Gronw ab 
Owain ab Edwin and thus was his first cousin."^ Though the 
archbishop suggested that the lady might be honourably pro- 
vided for out of Owain's ample possessions, if a separation were 
once brought about, he refused to listen to the proposal. Nor 
was he moved by the archbishop's flattering allusions to his 
triumphant issue out of the difficulties of earlier days, his dis- 
cretion and wisdom, his love of pious meditation, his pre-emin- 
ence above all the other princes of Wales. He maintained his 
attitude of resistance until his death, which took place on 23 rd 
November, 1 1 70.^^" Though he had been excommunicated 
by the archbishop for his disobedience in this matter and the 
closely related affair of the vacant bishopric, the clergy of 
Bangor gave him honourable burial in their church, building 
him an arched tomb in the wall of the presbytery, close to the 
high altar.^^^ Thus was laid to rest, after sixty ^^^ strenuous 
years of patriotic service, the trusty pilot, whose steady hand 
and watchful eye had guided the ship of state through foaming 
rapids and whirling eddies into the full, smooth current of 
freedom and prosperity. 

^^"^ Mat. Hist. Becket, vi. 458, where the reference to " regum Gualliae " 
no doubt covers Owain, 

134 H. and St. i. 371-4 ; Mat. Hist. Becket, v. 236-g. Cf. also Gir, Camb. 
vi. 133-4 {Itin, ii. 8). 

138 Dwnn, ii. 107. 

i^^R. of Torigni, s.a. 1171 (p. 251), and Ann. Cest. s.a. 1170, give the 
year ; for the month see B.T., and for the day, the reference in Bruts, 405 (O 
Oes Gwrtheyrn), to "wyl clemens". B. Saes., which is one year in arrear from 
1140 to 1170, divides the latter year into two (ii6gand 1170) and thus gets its 
chronology right. Ann. C. MS. B. is one year in advance in its dating from 
1 154 to 1 180. 

13'' Gir. Camb. vi. 133 (Itin. ii. 8). 

138 His first appearance is in 1123 — see p. 466 — when he can hardly have 
been under fourteen years of age. 


IV. The Literary Revival.^^^ 

The struggle for independence which absorbed the energies chap. 
of the Welsh in the middle of the twelfth century had one result •^^^' 
which is often found to follow in the wake of a great patriotic 
movement — it led to a literary revival. To trace this revival 
in detail, to weigh the value of its contribution to Welsh litera- 
ture, to analyse its forms, would carry us beyond the limits 
of the present work, and is a task best left to those who have 
made this field of study peculiarly their own. But no account 
of mediaeval Wales would be adequate which did not take 
some cognisance of it, and an endeavour must therefore be made 
to outline its salient features. 

In the first place, however, something must be said of the 
author who, though he did not write in Welsh and probably 
was not a Welshman by origin, gave world-wide currency in 
this age to the ancient traditions of Wales, and thereby 
nourished the pride of the Welsh race, secured it an honourable 
standing in the European community, and enshrined its heroes 
among the valiant and worthy of all time. Geoffrey of Mon- 
mouth, it is more and more being recognised, was the real fount 
and source of the vogue of the Arthurian cycle of romance, the 
first populariser of the legends of early Britain ; his History of 
the Kings of Britain broke absolutely new ground in literature 
and had an immeasurable influence upon the course of literary 
movements in Western Europe.^*** He claims attention, there- 
fore, at this point as a cardinal instance of the new literary 
forces brought into play by the interaction of Welsh and Nor- 
man life and ideas. Of his early history nothing is certainly 
known, but it may be surmised from the name he usually 
bears ^*^ that he was a native of Monmouth and — for a Geoffrey 
at this time would scarcely be a Welshman — a member of the 
foreign settlement in that town.^*^ Another name by which he 

i3«For the subject-matter of section iv. the reader is referred to Stephens, 
Literature of the Kymry. 

1*" See, especially, Prof. W. Lewis Jones's treatment of the subject in Trans. 
Cytnr. 1898-9, 52-95 ; Quarterly Review, July, 1906. 

"1 " Gaufrid[us] Monemutensis " in the Berne MS. (Hist. Reg. i. i). 

1*2 No weight can be attached to the statements in Gw. Brut. s.a. 1152 as to 
his connection with Llandaff. Bishop Uchtryd seems, indeed, to have had a 
nephew named Geoffrey; see Cart. Glouc. ii. 55 for " Galfrido sacerdote 


CHAP, was commonly known in his own day was Geoffrey Arthur 
(Gaufridus Artur)/*^ a title understood, when he had become 
famous, to refer to the great hero of his tale. But there is 
evidence that he used it in the days of his obscurity, and reason, 
therefore, to suppose that his father's name was Arthur.^^* If 
this were indeed the case, then the presumption would be 
strong that Geoffrey was the son of one of the Breton followers 
of Wihenoc of Monmouth,^*^ and the problem how a foreigner 
came to be so deeply interested in the legends of the old British 
time would be solved. It is not without significance in this 
connection that Geoffrey makes the insular often seek the aid 
of the Armorican Britons ; indeed, he avers, through the mouth 
of King Salomon of Brittany, that it has never gone well with 
the island since the latter left it.^*^ 

Geoffrey first appears upon the scene in 1129, when he 
witnessed, with other clergy of Oxford, the foundation charter 
of Osney Abbey.^*^ These clerical witnesses are headed by 
Walter, Archdeacon of Oxford, and it is, therefore, probable that 
Geoffrey had already attached himself to a man whom in the 
History he praises as an orator of repute and a student of 
history, and to whom, if we are to believe him, he was indebted 
for the " British book " forming the basis of his own work.^*^ 
During the next ten years he was probably engaged in the 
compilation of the History ; it is, at any rate, known that 
in 1 139 there was a copy at the abbey of Bee in Normandy of 
what looks like a first edition, which was shown at that time 
by Robert of Torigni, a monk of the abbey, to Henry of 
Huntingdon, the historian, as he passed through on his way to 
Rome.^** One MS. of the work, preserved at Berne in Switzer- 
land, has a double dedication, to King Stephen and to Earl 

nepote episcopi ". But Geoff. Mon. was not ordained priest until a week before 
his consecration as bishop. 

1*3 So R. de Torigni, 75, 168 ; Gir. Camb. vi. 58, 179 ; Wm. Newb. p. 4. 

i**The " Galffrai ab Arthur " of Gw. Brut cannot, of course, be relied upon 
as evidence. See, however, Giry, Manuel de Diplomatique (Paris, 1894), p. 
361, for patronymics of this form. 

14B See p. 396. Arthur is a very unusual personal name among the early 
Welsh (c/., however, p. 521 and Cymr. ix. 171). 

""Hfs^ Reg. xii. 5. 

^*'' Mon. Angl. vi. 251, where the comma is to be deleted in " Gaufrido, 
Arturo ". 

"8 Hist. Reg. i. i. ">♦ R. de Torigni, 64, 75. 


Robert of Gloucester, which suggests that an edition was issued CHAP, 
in 1 1 36-8, when these two potentates were on fairly friendly 
terms with each other.^^'' In all other MSS. the dedication is 
to Robert alone, pointing to a time when Geoffrey had chosen 
his side in the great civil conflict, and, as was but natural in a 
man of the western march, had chosen that of the warlike earl 
who ruled both banks of the Severn.^^^ Despite his fame as 
a man of letters, he had to wait long for his meed of recognition, 
and, when this came in 1 1 5 2, it took the form of the bishopric 
of St. Asaph, an outpost of Anglo-Norman authority, rendered 
for the moment untenable by the aggressions of Owain 
Gwynedd. Geoffrey was ordained priest on i6th February, 
and on the 24th consecrated at Lambeth by Archbishop 
Theobald, after professing the fullest submission to Canter- 
j^yj-y. 152 j^ jg j^Q^ likely that he ever saw his cathedral ; in 
December, 11 53, he was at Westminster in the great assembly 
which ratified the peace between Stephen and the young 
Henry,^''^ and in 1 1 5 5 he died,"* at a time when the Welsh 
were still in possession of Tegeingl. 

A keen controversy has been waged over the question of 
the sources of Geoffrey's work. What was the " very ancient 
volume in the British tongue," lent him by Archdeacon Walter, 
which he professed to have rendered into Latin ? Did it come 
from Brittany, or from Wales ? "^ Was it a copy of the 
Historia Brittonum of Nennius, done into the vernacular, or 

160 Xrans. Cymr. 1898-9, 64-5. 

1" A difficulty is raised by the use of the imperfect tense in Hist. Reg. vii. i, 
where mention is made of the stately retinue of Bishop Alexander of Lincoln 
("non erat alter . . . alliciebat "), who did not die until 1148, in the year 
following the death of Earl Robert. It is best met by supposing Geoffrey to 
refer to a greatness brought to an end by the king's attack in 1139 ; no doubt, the 
words are to be found in the same form in the Berne MS., but it is not certain 
that the text of this MS. dates from 1136-8, as the dedication apparently does. 

^•'"^ H. and St. i. 360 ; R. de Torigni, s.a. 1152 ; Ann. Waverl. For the position 
of the see at this time see pp. 485, 494 ; the foreign origin of its first bishops is 
sufficiently shown by their names — i. Gilbert, 1143- ? ; 2. Geoffrey, 1152-5 ; 3. 
Richard (Gervase, ii. 385) ; 4. Godfrey, 1160-75. 

16'' Rymer, i. 18. 

1°^ B. Sacs. s.a. 1154 (=: 1155) > ^■'^- 184. Both have Llandaff for Llanelwy, 
a slip of the original chronicler, for Nicholas was bishop of Llandaff from 1148 
to 1183. The phrase "ar offeren " (at mass) of the Red Book {Bruts, 318) is 
merely a misreading of " a rosser " — see Mostyn MS. 116 in Evans, Rep. i. p. 60. 

^"^ For Britannia = Wales see Asser, 7, 79, 80. Welsh is called " lingua 
Britannica" in Hist. Reg. ii. i. 


CHAP, some other compilation of the kind no longer extant ? The 
XIV -1 

question has even been asked, had it any real existence ? was 

not the whole business a bit of literary artifice ? Into these 
matters it is impossible to enter here ; they are topics for dis- 
cussion by the historian of the romantic literature of Europe. 
But, in view of the respect with which the authority of Geoffrey 
soon came to be regarded by serious historical writers,^^" it 
may not be amiss to set down here two conclusions which 
are of cardinal importance in this connection. The first is, 
that no Welsh composition exists which can be reasonably 
looked upon as the original, or even the groundwork, of the 
History of the Kings of Britain. Brut Tysilio has been by 
some writers raised to this position of honour,"^ but, instead 
of being anterior to, it is of later date than the Welsh transla- 
tion of Geoffrey's work known as Brut y Brenhinoedd, and 
no MS. of it is earlier than the sixteenth century.^^^ Those 
who would fain believe that Geoffrey preserves for us valuable 
Welsh traditions are, therefore, confronted with this difficulty, 
that there is nothing to show he did not invent everything 
beyond what he got from the well-known sources, Gildas, 
Nennius, and Bede.^^^ The second conclusion which affects 
the historical, as distinct from the literary, value of Geoffrey's 
work is that much of the detail which fills out his narrative is 
beyond doubt of his own invention. The process of elabora- 
tion can often be watched. Occasionally, it is true, he makes 
use of a genuine local tradition, as when, in opposition to 
Nennius, he links the death of Vortigern with the stronghold 
on the Little Doward, near his own home at Monmouth.^*"' 

1'^* Gir. Camb. (vi. 58, 179) and Wm, Newb. (procemium) were unbelievers, 
but from the time of Roger of Wendover until the Renaissance Geoffrey was in 
high repute as a historian. Polydore Vergil was among the first to cast doubt 
upon his trustworthiness and was answered by Sir John Prise in Historiae 
Brytannicae Defensio (London, 1573). 

157 Myv. Arch. II. 81 (432) ; Peter Roberts, Chronicle of the Kings of Britain 
(London, 1811), preface, xi. 

^^^ Bruts, xvi.-xx. ; Evans, Rep. ii. pp. 39, 90. 

159 Geoff, mentions both Bede and Gildas (i. i) and draws largely upon them, 
taking from the former, for instance, the substance of xi. 12, 13, and from the latter 
that of i. 2 ; xi. 4, 5, 6. But he is silent as to his third and principal source, the 
Historia Brittonum, and it has been pointed out that his references to Gildas are 
very far from agreeing with what we know of that author's work (Gildas, ed. 
Mommsen, 23). 

160 The Berne MS. reads as follows (viii. 2) : " oppidumque genoreu [Gan- 
nerew] petivit. . . . Erat autem oppidum illud in natione hergign [Erging or 


But more often he is the literary craftsman bending stubborn CHAP, 
material into the shape that suits his purpose. Thus for his 
marvellous array of personal names he rifles the old tribal 
genealogies ; this is the source of his " Dunvallo Molmutius," 
his " Gurguint barbtruc," his " Gorbonianus," " Cursalem," and 
many another sonorous title.^"^ His handling of the fall of 
Allectus in A.D. 296 is very characteristic. This successor of 
Carausius as independent emperor in Britain was overwhelmed 
by Constantius, the founder of the Constantian dynasty, but 
he had sent before him with a part of his army the able general 
Asclepiodotus, who was praetorian prefect ; and thus it comes 
about that in the chronicles which were current in the Middle 
Ages the latter has the sole credit of the achievement.^*'^ Geof- 
frey does not hesitate to style Asclepiodotus Duke of Cornwall 
and to transform him into a British patriot, who kills the 
Roman tyrant Allectus and shuts up the Roman garrison in 
London, reigning afterwards in peace for ten years.^^^ He 
treats British authorities with the same irresponsible gaiety. 
The five kings attacked by Gildas, who ruled various parts of 
Western Britain when the Ruin of Britain was composed, 
supplied just the material which he needed ; four of them are 
accordingly named by him, in the order followed by Gildas, as 
successive kings of the Britons, and, with a solemn particularity 
worthy of Swift or Defoe, Constantine, Conan and Wortipor 
are said to have ruled three, two, and four years respectively ! ^^* 
It is idle to look for history, in any guise, from a writer who 

Archenfield] super fluvium guaie [the Wye] in monte qui cloartius [for ' doartius ' : 
Doward seems to be from Dougarth — cf. Lib. Land. 164, 408] nuncupatur ". Cf. 
Bruts, 157; Usher, Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Antiquitates (Dublin, 1639), 62, 

^*^ The forms given are those of the Berne MS., which in its spelling of 
Welsh proper names is more accurate than the printed texts. They appear in 
the genealogies in Harl. MS. 3859 as " Dumngual moilmut " [Cymr. ix. 174), 
" Guurgint bar(m)b truch" (178), *' Garbaniaun " (174) and " Cursalen " (173). 
Sometimes Geoffrey made a mistake, as when he was misled by the appearance of 
Guendoleu into taking it for a female name and bestowed it (ii. 4), as " Guendo- 
loena," on the jealous wife of Locrinus. It thus happens that there is no Welsh 
equivalent for the English Gwendoline. 

^82 " Ipse [Allectus] post eum Britannias triennio tenuit ; qui ductu Asclep- 
iodoti praefecti praetorio oppressus est " (Eutropius, ix. 22, followed by Orosius, 
adv. Paganos, vii. 25). For the fuller accounts see Sextus Aurelius Victor, 39; 
Panegyrici Latini, ed. Baehrens, 132-48. 

"^V.4,5. 1" XI. 3.7. 


CHAP, allowed himself such freedom and whose first and last thought 
■ was for literary effect. 

One must also, on other grounds, deny the title of historian 
to Geoffrey's contemporary, Caradog of Llancarfan. In the 
epilogue of his work, the vivacious romancer, who has brought 
his story to the death of Cadwaladr, warns off all other writers 
from the special domain he has appropriated, but tells William 
of Malmesbury and Henry of Huntingdon that they may deal 
with the Saxon kings, and Caradog that he may continue the 
British narrative to modern times.^^^ That Caradog ever did 
so there is not the slightest reason for thinking ; a life of Gildas 
is attributed to him,^*"' but nothing else on any ancient authority. 
In particular, it is highly improbable that he had any share 
in the compilation of the Chronicle of the Princes}^'^ Both 
under Henry I. and later, the centre of interest in this chronicle 
is in South-west Wales, at Llanbadarn, St. David's, or Strata 
Florida ; there is a complete silence as to the affairs of Gla- 
morgan, and Llancarfan is scarcely once mentioned. 

History, indeed, was not a specially remarkable feature of 
the literary revival now under consideration, if attention be 
confined to what was composed in Welsh.^^^ Poetry, oratory 
and story-telling were the channels through which the newly 
awakened literary interest found expression in the vernacular. 
It was a popular literature which came into existence, not at 
first preserved in writing,^"^ but orally transmitted, not developed 
under ecclesiastical or monastic influences, but springing up 
spontaneously in the courts of the princes and the homes of 
the wealthier tribesmen. At the same time, though it was 
meant to be heard and not read,^''" and though it appealed to 

165 <« Karadoco Lancarbanensi contemporaneo meo" (xii. 20). 

166 «i Nancarbanensis (for the form, see chap. vii. note 52) dictamina sunt 
Caratoci " {Gildas, ed. Mommsen, 3-4, no ; ed. Williams, 412). 

18^ The original of B.T. and B. Sues. Caradog of Llancarfan, who is only 
known from Geoffrey's reference to him, has often been confused {e.g., by Ab 
Ithel — see B.T. pref. xxiii-xxv) with Caradog the hermit, whose history has been 
handed down in detail and who died in 1124 (see p. 591). 

168 There is reason to think that not only the original of B.T. but also that 
of Buch. Gr. ap C, was written in Latin, 

189 The oldest extant Welsh MS. is the Black Book of Carmarthen, a collec- 
tion of poetry put together in the latter half of the twelfth century. See Blk. 
Bk. pref and Evans, Rep, i. p. 297. 

IT* For the exceptional case of a story which was too elaborate to be recited 
without a book see the close of" Breuddwyd Rhonabwy " {Mab. 161). 


the public — a leisured public, be it remembered, for the Welsh, CHAP, 


like all warlike and pastoral peoples, found time hang heavy on 
their hands — and not to a cultured class, yet it was not a litera- 
ture of simple, unsophisticated forms, but elaborate and full of 
conventions ; it was largely, though not entirely, the concern of 
a special professional order, who inherited the ancient bardic 

Evidence has already been given of the persistence among 
the Welsh from Druidic times of a class of skilled singers and 
poets.^"^ It was in honour and repute at the court of Maelgwn 
Gwynedd ; it celebrated the fierce conflicts of Angle and Cymro 
in the sixth and seventh centuries. A few verses written in a 
copy of Juvencus which is now in the Cambridge University 
Library show that Welsh poetry was being composed in the 
ninth century.^"^ In the age of Hywel Dda the bardic order 
was of recognised standing and clearly defined privileges. 
Membership of it implied freedom of status ; the " bardd " or 
" cerddor " (the terms were interchangeable) might be a free 
landowner, or a " treftadog," having landed expectations, or 
even an " alltud " or stranger, but he could not be an " aillt " 
or villein, a bondsman of the soil.^'^^ The craft seems, indeed, 
to have been a hereditary possession of certain families,^^* 
and in the contest between Cynddelw the Great and Seisyll 
Bryffwrch for the office of " pencerdd " to Madog ap Maredudd 
it was reckoned an effective taunt to say — 

From yon stock no bards have sprung.^''* 

Beyond birth, however, careful instruction was needed to make 
a mature and accomplished bard ; this was given by the 
" pencerdd," or bardic president, to all the beginners of his 
district, who practised upon harps strung with horsehair until 
they had thoroughly learnt their business, when the " pencerdd " 
admitted them, on payment of a fee of twenty-four pence, to 

I'^i See pp. 86, 130, 169-71. ^'^^IV. Anc. Bks. ii. pp. 1-2, 311-14. 

i"LL. i. 78, 436; ii. 18. 

1^* Hence such local names as Pentref y beirdd and Tre'r beirdd (the bard's 
hamlet). The former is found in the township of Broniarth, near Meifod; of the 
latter there are several instances, e.g., in mid-Anglesey (Llanfihangel T. B.), near 
Mold and near Llanidan. There was a " Wele Predythion " (Poets' holding) in 
the vill of Gest in Eifionydd {Rec. Cam. 40). 

i76jj/yj, Arch. I. 210 (154), 


CHAP, the full privileges of the order.^^" They still remained under 
his authority, but might now practise their craft for the ordin- 
ary rewards of a fully fledged minstrel. 

Both the " bardd teulu " and the " pencerdd " stood out 
from among the common crowd of bards, but their position 
was very different. To borrow an ecclesiastical analogy, one 
was the court chaplain, the other the bishop of the diocese. 
The " bardd teulu " was the chief minstrel of the court, being 
reckoned among its twenty-four officers ; he had special duties 
towards the " teulu " or household troops, one of which was to 
sing the ancient strain entitled " The Monarchy of Pictland " 
in front of the ranks as they were arrayed for battle.^'^^ The 
" pencerdd " or chief poet, on the other hand, filled no place in 
the service of the crown ; he was the head of the whole bardic 
community within the limits of the kingdom,^''^ taking preced- 
ence even of the " bardd teulu "P'^ The symbol of his authority 
was the chair in which he sat ; this he won in a poetic competi- 
tion, in which the award was apparently made by the judge of 
the court,-'^'^ and accordingly the " pencerdd " is sometimes styled 
the " chaired bard ".^^^ Unlike his modern successor, who wins 
a chair in a National Eisteddfod, the " pencerdd," once success- 
ful, was secure against rivalry for the rest of his life ; when the 
king gave him the harp which was the perquisite of his office,^^^ 
he paid an " ebediw " or succession fee as though for an estate,^^^ 
and entered into a lordship which was as solid and permanent 
in its way as that of any prince.^ ^* 

1''* Ven. I. xli. 6 ; Gw. I. xxxvii. 12, 13 ; LL,. ii. 18. 

^'^'^ Ven. I. xiv. ; Dim. I. xviii. ; Gw. I. xix. ; Lat. A. I. xxii. ; Lat. B. I. xxi. 
g. For the meaning of " Prydein " or " Prydyn " see W. People, p. 76. 

1'* He had a " swyd " (i. 388), " penkeirdaeth " (i. 678) or " provintia " (ii. 
833). A " bardd gorwlad," i.e., one who came from another principality, was 
not subject to his authority. 

1^* This appears from Ven. I. xiv. 5 (guedy ebart kadeyryauc ebard teulu). 

180 This is suggested by the fact that the " ynad llys," at the conclusion of 
the ceremony, got the buffalo horn, the gold ring, and the cushion used for it 
(Dim. I. xiv. 7 ; Gw. I. xiii. 25). 

181 Ven. I. vi. i ; xiv. 5. Cf. Dim. I. xxv. 8 ; Gw. I. xxxvii. 8. 

182 Qw_ I. xxxvii. II. LL. ii. 18 (§ 28) amplifies the old rule to suit changed 

183 LL. ii. 18 (§26). 

18* For an early holder of the office see Buck. Gr. ap C. 118 (730), where it 
is recorded that " Gellan telynyaur," Gruffydd ap Cynan's " penkerd," fell in the 
retreat from Aberlleiniog in 1094. For the name Gellan cf. Lib. Land. 146, 



With such an organisation it is not to be supposed that CHAP. 


poetical composition was at a standstill among the Welsh bards 
until the revolt in the time of Stephen. Proof that the art had 
not been forgotten may, indeed, be found in the life of Gwynllyw 
written about 1 1 oo, where the story is told of a " Britannus 
versificator," who, while composing a Welsh ode in honour of 
the saint, was gravelled for lack of matter which would form an 
effective close. Gwynllyw obligingly sent a flood which swept 
the whole plain from St. Woollo's to the sea and spared only the 
poet's house ; perched on its roof in a great waste of waters, 
the good man found the poetic climax he wanted in the story 
of his marvellous deliverance.^*^ Yet, whatever may have been 
composed during this period, nothing has been handed down to 
our day which is indubitably older than 1 135, except the little 
poem written by Meilyr on the battle of Mynydd Carn.^*® It 
may be fairly concluded that the court poetry of this age was too 
lifeless and conventional to survive ; it was only in the white heat 
of the universal national uprising that the singers of Wales took 
fire and chanted deathless lays which their countrymen would 
not willingly let die. Meilyr himself, the harbinger of the new 
era, the earliest of the " Gogynfeirdd " of the Welsh poetic re- 
nascence, sang very differently of the vanquished of 1 08 1 and of 
Gruffydd ap Cynan in 1 137 ; in the interval he had learnt the 
art of a sustained and trumpet-like music of which there is no 
trace in his first poetic effort. 

It is only possible to notice here in the briefest fashion the 
singers who, rising on the crest of the movement for independ- 
ence, transferred the passion of the people into song and became 
the vanguard of a succession of Welsh poets which has con- 
tinued to the present day. Meilyr was a man of Anglesey, 
from whom the hamlet of Trefeilyr, in the parish of Trefdraeth, 
took its name.^*^ After serving Trahaearn ap Caradog in his 
youth, he attached himself to Gruffydd ap Cynan, becoming, it 
would seem, his " pencerdd," with a seat of privilege at the 

1*' Cambro-Br. SS. 151, For the date assigned to the life see Cytnr. xi. 
128. The poem is of a well-known class ; in the Myv. Arch, there are poems to 
St. David, St. Tysilio, and St. Cadfan. 

IS"* See note 88 to chap. xi. The mythical and traditional poetry associated 
with the names of Aneirin, Taliesin, etc., is here left out of account, as yielding 
no certain evidence of its date. 

1^" Diet, Nat. Biog. xxxvii. p. 215, 


CHAP, court of Aberffraw. His elegy upon Grufifydd is the first poem 
written under the influence of the triumphs over the EngHsh, 
and breathes a spirit of fierce daring : — 

The king of England came with his battalions — 
Though he came, he returned not with cattle. 

Grufifydd hid himself not, but with open force 
Hotly did champion and protect his people.^*^ 

The " Deathbed of Meilyr the Poet " is in a more placid vein 
and well illustrates what was best in the religious feeling of the 

In my last home may I wait the call ! 

My chosen sanctuary hath the sea beside it ; 

'Tis a solitary, untrodden refuge, 

And around the churchyard heaves the bosom of the deep. 

Fair island of Mary ! white isle of the saints ! 

How blest to lie there against the day of uprising ! 

The God who did make me will to himself receive me 
With the pure souled multitude of the dwellers in Enlli.i*^ 

Meilyr's son, Gwalchmai, was also a dweller in Anglesey, where 
Trefwalchmai preserves his name.^^" He belonged to the full 
tide of the poetic revival, celebrating with abundant vigour 
of diction and striking pictorial power the successes of Owain 
Gwynedd. He was a warrior-poet, handling the sword with 
the same impetuous passion as the harp : — 

Gwalchmai am I called, a foe to all English. 

Bright is my sword and of dazzling fashion 
In the day of battle ; my shield flashes gold. 
Multitudes praise me that have not seen me — 
Ladies of Gwent — I am reckoned all fury.^'^ 

Though the chief bard of Gwynedd, Gwalchmai sang on 
occasion in honour of Madog ap Maredudd and did not stint 
his eulogy : — 

188 Myw. Arch. I. igo (140). The reference is probably to the campaign of 

189 Af)'z>. Arch. I. 193 (142). For " marw-ysgafyn " see Mots Latins, p. 215. 

19" In the fourteenth century Trefwalchmai (now Gwalchmai), in the com- 
mote of Malldraeth, was shared between three kins who claimed descent from 
three sons of Gwalchmai, named Meilyr, Dafydd, and Elidyr (Rec. Cam. 48}. 

1" Myv. Arch. I. 194 (143). 


No easier is it for thy foe to escape thy chastisement CHAP. 

Than 'tis to find the sand-flat where no sand \%}^ XIV. 

But the court poet of Powys in this age was Cynddelw Brydydd 
Mawr {i.e., the Great Bard), who, while he addressed odes dur- 
ing his long life to many princes of North and South Wales, 
devoted his muse especially to the service of the land of Tysilio, 
its warriors, its saints, its peculiar privileges. His contest with 
Seisyll BryfFwrch for the office of " pencerdd " in Powys has 
been already mentioned ; despite his lack of bardic ancestry, he 
seems to have succeeded in the competition, nor will the 
modern reader be disposed to quarrel with the verdict, if the 
poems of Seisyll which have been preserved are fair specimens 
of his bardic talent. Cynddelw was a prolific and versatile 
composer ; the themes of love, war, religion and death in turn 
engage his muse, and, though his power over the Welsh lan- 
guage may have encouraged him to make undue use of the 
poetic device of alliteration, there is much that is impressive in 
the rapid, on-flowing current of his verse. Inferior to Gwalch- 
mai in the gift of vivid description, he has nevertheless many a 
graphic image, as in his elegy on his first patron, Madog ap 
Maredudd :— 

Poet's friend, poet's bond, who spoke right well, 

He was a stedfast anchor in the waste of the wide sea — ^" 

and in his verses to Owain Fychan of Powys : — 

Leading his host mid the uproar of battle — 
A roar as of torrents falling into the full sea.^** 

It is a proof of the force and vitality of this poetic move- 
ment that it was not confined to those who made bardism their 
profession, but influenced some of the men of action of the day. 
A certain degree of skill in playing upon the harp was widely 
difl"used in Wales at this period ; each " uchelwr " had a harp 
among his more valuable possessions,^®^ and no accomplishment 
was more highly prized than ability to play upon \\.P^ One 
need not marvel, therefore, to find Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd 
and Owain Cyfeiliog among the singers of this age, nor will a / 

"2 Myv. Arch. I. 200 (147). iss /jf^. 213 (156). i** /jj^f. 214 (156). 

195 •« Try anhebkor gwrda y telyn ay ureckan ay kallaur " (Lh. i. 76). 

196 II Omnes quoque de curia seu familia viri citra doctrinam omnem cithari- 
zandi per se peritiam tenent" (Gir. Camb. vi. 183 \Descr. i. 10]). 

VOL. n. 12 


CHAP, close inspection of the poems they have left behind them be 
necessary to convince us that it was true poetic talent, and 
not courtly indulgence, which gained for them this distinction. 
Owain was a man of keen intelligence and resourceful wit ; it 
was but natural he should turn his hand to the popular craft of 
minstrelsy, and his " Hirlas Owain " (The Drinking-horn of 
Owain ^^^) is well conceived and skilfully carried out. He bids 
his " menestr " ^^^ or cupbearer fill and carry to each of his 
brave comrades in turn the royal drinking-horn — 

The long, blue buffalo-horn of high privilege, set with old silver. 

As this is done, he recounts the deeds of each hero, and it is 
not until he has said the words of praise in the case of Tudur 
and Moreiddig that he remembers that they are no more : — 

A deathstrain it must be, for I have lost them both. 
O Christ I how I grieve for the heavy mischance, 
For the loss of Moreiddig, so sorely needed. 

Hywel's was a romantic and restless career and his life is re- 
flected in his verse, in which he pours a wealth of poetic fancy 
at the feet of his twin goddesses — Nature and Woman. The 
man who took Meirionydd by storm in 1147 and made the 
flames roar round its castle of Cynfael ^^^ was himself taken 
captive by its delicate beauty : — 

A wave of white foam sweeps hard by its hamlets, 

And as it speeds it is likest the silvery rime. 

I love that sea-strand of Meirionydd, 

Where a snow white arm was my pillow, 

I love to hear in the thickets of privet 

The nightingale's note in the far famed Meeting of Waters.""" 

While it is chiefly the poetry of this age which has been 
preserved in literary form, there is abundant evidence that this 
was but one of many diverse kinds of mental discipline practised 
among the Welsh. Giraldus speaks of their skill in vocal 
music, which they sang in parts, and not, as elsewhere, in 

^'•>T Myv. Arch. I. 265 (190). 

198 The word is said to be of French origin (Mots Latins, p. 186) ; in the Laws 
it is represented by " trulliad " (LL. i. 44). 

i»9 See Cynddelw's reference (My v. Arch. I. 259 [187]) : — 
" Twr kynuael yn kwytaw 
A flameu odrum yn edrinaw." 
(" Cynfael's keep topples over and flames roar above it.") 
20U Myv. Arch. I. 277 (198). " Kymer deu dyfyr " is the full name of Cymer 
on the Mawddach — see p. 466. 


unison ; 2<*i of their rhetorical powers as pleaders in their courts chap. 
of law ; ""^'^ of their story-tellers,^*'^ their genealogists,^*'* their ^ ' 
diviners.^**^ In general, he says of them : " They are a race of 
subtle and penetrating intellect. Whatever the subject of study 
to which they may apply themselves, their rich natural endow- 
ment of mind enables them to excel in it." Native gifts had 
been developed and strengthened by the inspiration of the 
great national struggle ; as in England in the days of Elizabeth, 
proved ability to stand alone in the face of formidable attacks 
from without had given the nation a new spirit of boldness and 
self-reliance, and this found expression in a literature which, 
while not altogether independent of foreign influences, was in 
the main a spontaneous outgrowth of the soil. 

201 vi. 189 (pe$cr. i. 13). 202 /jj^. 187 (i, 12). 

203 i}}icl, 202 (i. 17), where a specially famous story-teller, Bledri, is men- 
tioned, who flourished in the early part of the twelfth century. It has been 
supposed that he was one of the early disseminators of stories about Arthur — see 
Arth. Legend, pp. 373-4. 

20* Gir. Camb. vi. 167-8 (Descr. i. 3), where reference is made to such an 
early collection of royal pedigrees as may be found in Harl. MS. 3859. 

208 Ibid. 194-5 {Descr.i. 16). "Awen," whence the form " awennithion," 
has lost its special meaning of " oracular frenzy " and now denotes the poet's 




I. The Greatness of the Lord Rhys. 

CHAP. Upon the death of Owain Gwynedd, the leadership of the 
^^- Welsh passed from north to south and fell into the hands of 
Rhys ap Gruffydd, who stood henceforth until the day of his 
death as the unquestioned head of the princes of Wales. This 
was a position which no other South-Welsh prince attained 
after the fall of Rhys ap Tewdwr ; geographical conditions were 
unfavourable to the rise of an independent power in the south. 
The country was open to the invader ; no such natural barriers 
as the wide marsh of Rhuddlan and the precipitous cliffs of 
Penmaenmawr barred the way of the foreign adventurer, and 
though in the heart of South Wales there was one district — the 
Great Cantref — which was wild enough to give the Welsh per- 
petual shelter and so keep alive the spirit of resistance, it was 
too much of a wilderness to be, under ordinary circumstances, 
the territorial basis of a formidable power. Snowdon, no 
doubt, could match it in rugged desolation, but Snowdon had 
behind it — not to speak of its own rich mountain-pastures — the 
sunny cornfields of Mon, an unfailing source of strength to the 
princes of Gwynedd. Thus the career of Rhys was exceptional ; 
natural difficulties were overcome, in part by the virile energy 
and spirit of the man, but in part also through the operation of 
unusually favourable circumstances. 

Among these was the quarrel between the king and Arch- 
bishop Thomas, which, as was pointed out in the last chapter, 
had much to do with the successful national outbreak in 1 165. 
Its tragic and pitiful close on 29th December, 1 1 70,^ left Henry 

^ B. Saes., hitherto one year in arrear in its dating, divides the year iiycinto 
two ("Anno ix°." and "Anno dom. M°. c°. lxx°.") and is henceforth correct. 
Both B.T. and B. Saes. assign the murder of St. Thomas to the beginning of 
1 171, which shows that their original dated its years from the Nativity (25th Dec). 



weaker than ever, a monarch so bereft of friends and of reputa- CHAP. 


tion that the Welsh had no reason henceforth to dread his ven- 
geance. It was the good fortune of Rhys not only to benefit 
by this general improvement in the position of the Welsh 
cause, but also by another event which was of special advan- 
tage to himself, viz., the Anglo-Norman conquest of Ireland. 
It would be no exaggeration to say that the exploits of Earl 
Richard and his followers were the making of Rhys as a prince 
of wide and firmly established authority. Since the days of 
Giraldus Cambrensis, keenly anxious for the credit of his 
family, attention has often been called to the predominant 
part played in this movement by the foreign colony of Dyfed, 
by the Normans and Flemings of South-western Wales. But 
no stress has been laid upon the fact, which is of the highest 
interest for the student of Welsh history, that this exodus 
brought immediate relief to Rhys by diverting into a new 
channel the energies of his ancient foes, nor has it been observed 
how the king, in his jealous suspicion of the new Anglo-Irish 
power, completely reversed his former policy in South Wales 
and set himself to favour and exalt Rhys as a counterpoise to 
the Pembrokeshire magnates. 

King Dermot of Leinster,^ casting about for aid in the re- 
covery of his throne, turned in the first instance to Henry II., 
and in the winter of 1 166-7 travelled to Aquitaine to engage 
his interest and support.^ But he found that the courteous 
reception given him on his arrival was all he was to expect 
from the English king, and on the return journey through South 
Wales he made efforts to enlist others in his cause. Richard of 
Clare, who had succeeded his father Gilbert as Earl of Pembroke 
and lord of Nether Went,* was approached by him, at the time 

" The chief authorities for the story of the conquest of Ireland are Gir. Camb. 
V. (Top. and Exp. Hib.) and the French poem entitled by its latest editor, G. H. 
Orpen, " The Song of Dermot and the Earl " (Oxford, 1892), but formerly cited 
by the name of its supposed author, Morice Regan. I have usually followed 
Orpen's chronology (xxxix-xli). 

^ ^ Ann. C, B.T. and B. Sues, agree in assigning Dermot's exile to the year 
following the Berwyn victory, i.e., 1166. This is also the date in Ann. Ult. For 
the visit to Henry see Gir. Camb. v. 227 {Exp. Hib. i. i), " Song of Dermot," 
p. 262. 

■• Earl Gilbert died in 1147 (the year to be inferred from Ann. C. and B.T.) 
or 1148 {Mon. Angl. v. 270). The Welsh authorities (Ann. C. MS. B. s.a. 1149 ; 
Brtits, 326 ; B. Saes. s.a. 1171) call him " strangboga " and " vwa kadarn," but 


CHAP, with no great success,^ and he seems also to have appealed to 
Rhys ap Gruffydd to set free for an Irish expedition his prisoner, 
Robert fitz Stephen, who had been in the prince's hands since 
November, 1 165.^ When, however, he sailed from St. David's 
in the summer of 1167, he had in his train only one important 
recruit, namely, Richard fitz Godebert of Rhos,^ with a small 
contingent of fighting men, and accordingly he sent over in the 
following year his " latimer " or interpreter, Morice Regan, with 
letters to divers great men in England and Wales, appealing 
for armed help. To this appeal there was a much better re- 
sponse ; Robert fitz Stephen, after a three years' captivity,^ was 
now released by the shrewd policy of Rhys, who foresaw that 
the Irish enterprise would keep him busily employed for the 
rest of his life, and early in May, 1 1 69, he landed at Bannow 
Bay, not far from Waterford Haven, accompanied by his 
nephews, Meilyr fitz Henry,^ Miles of St. David's,^'' and Robert 
of Barry ,^^ together with one Maurice of Prendergast ^^ (near 
Haverfordwest) and a nephew of Earl Richard, Herv6 of Mont- 
do not apply the title to his son. Netherwent, with its castle of Chepstow or 
Striguil, was held under Henry I. by Earl Gilbert's uncle, Walter fitz Richard, 
the founder of Tintern, who died without issue in 1138 (Man. Angl. v. 270 — so 
also B. Sacs. s.a. in an entry not belonging to the original chronicle). The lord- 
ship seems to have passed, through Gilbert, to his son, who is called " comes 
Strigulensis " (Gir. Camb. v. 228 ; cf. R. de Torigni, s.a. 1176) quite as often as 
Earl of Pembroke. The " Tristig " of Bruts, 326, is for the " stristig " of Mos- 
tyn MS. 116 (Evans, Rep. i. p. 60) and this for " striguil ". 

' Gir. and the " Sorig of Dermot " agree that there was an interview with the 
earl at this stage, but three years passed ere it bore any substantial fruit. 

^ Again Gir. and the poet agree as to the meeting, but the former obscures 
the fact that it led to no immediate result. 

■^ " Le fiz godoberd ricard " {" Song of Dermot," v. 410). " Godebert," a 
Fleming of Rhos, is mentioned in Pipe Roll, 31 Hen. I. 137, as a landowner in 
the Pembroke district. Robert son of Godebert was one of three barons who 
joined in the gift of Rhosmarket to Slebech (Fenton (2), 347) ; both he and his 
brother Richard took part in the Irish invasion (" Song of Dermot," p. 264). 

8 " Per triennium in vinculis et carcere tentus " (Gir. Camb. v. 229 [Exp. 
Hib. i. 2]). 

^ Son of the Henry fitz Henry who fell in 1157 (seep. 499). Meilyr's name 
points to a Welsh upbringing. 

1" The " Milo Menevensis " of Gir. Camb., expressly called in the •' Song of 
Dermot " " le fiz leuesque de sein daui " (v. 450), i.e., of David fitz Gerald. " M. 
filius episcopi " witnesses a charter of Bishop David's granted to Carmarthen 
Priory (Carm. Cart. No. 32). 

11 Son of William of Barry and brother of Giraldus. See Exp. Hib. i. 4. 

^2 A prominent figure in the " Song of Dermot," but only once mentioned by 
Gir. (v. 230-1). 


morency/^ sent by the earl in part redemption of his promise of CHAP, 

The invaders, though often in sore straits, had remarkable 
success in their enterprise. First, the Danish city of Wexford 
fell into the power of Robert iitz Stephen and was bestowed 
upon him by King Dermot. Next, the arrival of Maurice fitz 
Gerald, another of the descendants of Nest of South Wales, 
brought an accession of strength to the company and enabled 
Dermot to make a vigorous onslaught upon his enemies. In 
the spring of 1 170 another of the great clan came over in the 
person of Raymond the Fat, son of William fitz Gerald of 
Carew, while the August of this year at last saw Earl Richard 
cross the Channel to render the long-promised assistance to 
the king of Leinster and to receive the reward for which he 
had bargained — the hand of Dermot's daughter and the rever- 
sion of his kingdom. The capture of Waterford by the earl 
broke the power of another Danish stronghold in Ireland, and 
it was then resolved to attack Dublin, the principal seat of the 
Ostmen, ruled at this time by Hasculf mac Torkil. At the 
end of September the city was taken, Hasculf finding safety in 
flight. The death of Dermot in the spring of 1 171 completed 
the triumph of the earl by placing within his grasp the prize 
for which he had toiled — the crown of the fair province of 

His success brought the king of England upon the scene. 
Henry had apparently given no sanction to the earl's adventure 
at the time it had been undertaken, and had afterwards marked 
his displeasure at the whole afifair.^* When the news reached 
him of Richard's succession to the crown, he recognised that 
the matter had become serious and that he must act promptly, 
if Ireland was not to become independent. The moment, in- 
deed, was not very propitious for an expedition, for Henry 
was still involved in the obloquy brought upon him by the arch- 
bishop's murder and had not yet been reconciled to the pope. 
Nevertheless, in Ireland he would be conveniently out of the 
way while the .storm was subsiding, and accordingly, at a council 

^^ For the true pedigree of Herv6 see Feudal England, p. 523. 

1* See Gir. Camb. v. 259 (Exp. Hib. i. 19) for measures taken at the end of 
1170. According to Gir., the earl had received some sort of a permission, but it 
was " ironica magis quam vera " (p. 248 — Exp. i. 13). 


CHAP, held at Argentan in July/^ he resolved to cross over, the fair 
words of Earl Richard's envoys nowise deterring him from his 

Landing at Portsmouth at the beginning of August,^^ he 
collected a large army, and early in September was at Newnham, 
on the edge of the Forest of Dean, in readiness for the journey 
through South Wales which was to take him to the fleet 
assembled in Milford Haven. At this point he was met by 
Earl Richard, who had resolved to turn aside the king's wrath 
by a timely submission and who now made his peace with 
Henry by the sacrifice of Dublin and other gains.^'^ At the 
same time Rhys ap Gruffydd came into the royal presence, 
relying, no doubt, upon overtures which had already been made 
to him,^^ and was received into full favour on promising to 
deliver twenty-four hostages and to render a payment of 300 
horses and 4,000 cattle.^^ The process had begun which was 
shortly to make Rhys the principal supporter of the crown in 
South Wales. A minor Welsh prince, lorwerth ab Owain of 
Gwynllwg, had less reason to be grateful for the royal visit. 
For some fault which is not recorded, Henry deprived him of 
Caerleon, a possession of the family since the days of Stephen ; ^° 
it may be that he thought it unfitting that a castle so near the 
high road into South Wales should be in the hands of a Welsh 
custodian. lorwerth waited until the army was well on its way 
to Pembroke, and then, with the aid of his sons, Owain and 

15 «' Mense Julio, rex congregavit barones suos apud Argentonium et cum 
ibi tractaretur de profectione sua in Hiberniam, legati comitis Ricardi venerunt 
ad eum " (R. de Torigni, p. 252). 

1^ Eyton, Itin. i6o. 

I'' Gir. Camb. v. 273 (Exp. Hib. i. 28). The " Penbroc " of the " Song of 
Dermot," v. 2230, is clearly a guess. 

18 " Ris, rex Walensium, pacificatus est cum rege Anglorum," says R. de 
Torigni, s.a. 1171 (p. 251), apparently referring to an early period of the year. 
But perhaps the notice is out of its proper place. 

19 41 Ac yna y deuth attaw yr arglwyd rys or {read ir) lie ydoed yn llwyn 
danet" [Bruts, 327; B.T. 210). "Llwyn danet" occurs in Bruts, 149, as a 
translation of the " Daneium (Daneum in the Berne MS.) nemus " of Geoff. Mon. 
(Hist. Reg. vii. 4), which is no doubt the Forest of Dean. The forest is variously 
styled " Fforest y Ddena " {Mab. 245 ; cf. " y ddena " in Cymr. ix. 331), " silva 
Danubiae" (Gir. Camb. vi. 55), "Dena" (De Nugis, p. 76), and "Dene" (Lib. 
Land. 333 ; Domesd. i. 1676, i). 

2" See p. 478. The fulness with which B.T. and B. Sues, give the history 
of this family suggests that their original had incorporated some local annals, 
perhaps those of the Cistercian abbey of Caerleon, 


Hywel, and his nephew, Morgan ap Seisyll ap Dyfnwal of CHAP. 
Upper Gwent, took vengeance in a raid upon the town he had 
been forced to abandon to the king's men. The castle stood 
the siege and was by the king's orders specially provisioned in 
order to meet further attacks.^^ Meanwhile Henry had reached 
Pembroke, spreading panic as he went by threats of punish- 
ment for the neglect of the marchers to impede the progress of 
Earl Richard as he set out on his campaign ^^ — threats which 
came to nothing, but which clearly reveal the suspicion and 
distrust now harboured by the king towards a class hitherto 
high in royal favour. Contrary winds kept the expedition from 
sailing for nearly a month after Henry's arrival ^^ and enabled 
him to bestow some attention upon Wales. On Michaelmas 
Day he paid a state visit to the shrine of St. David, somewhat 
to the embarrassment of Bishop David fitz Gerald, whose re- 
sources were not quite equal to the demands of the occasion. 
But the king was gracious, made a suitable offering to the 
cathedral altar, limited the number of the bishop's guests to 
300 men, and was careful to return to Pembroke the same 
night^* Although the day was wet and many had, for lack of 
room at the tables, to dine standing, the affair passed off 
agreeably, and no doubt the men of Dyfed, of all races, were 
flattered at the attention shown to their patron saint, whom 
Normans and Flemings called to their aid in their Irish warfare 
with as much assurance as though they were his undoubted 
fellow-countrymen.^^ More important, however, than this pious 
pilgrimage was the compact with Rhys ap Gruffydd which 
Henry now completed. On his arrival at Pembroke he 
formally recognised his old antagonist as rightful holder of the 
lands he had won ; not only Cantref Mawr was to be his, but 
also Ceredigion and Cantref Bychan, despite the respective 
claims of the houses of Clare ^^ and Clifford ; in addition he 

21 See Pipe Roll, 18 Hen. H. (1171-2), p. 119. 

22 Gir. Camb. v. 274 [Exp. Hib. i. 29). 

^^ He reached Pembroke on 21st September {B.T.). 

-* At Pembroke he granted a general confirmation of the rights of St. David's 
(Charter Rolls, i. 258). 

25 For the devotion of the invaders of Ireland to " Sein Daui " see the " Song 
of Dermot," vv. 987, 1938, 3442-55. 

28 Earl Roger of Hertford was with Henry and witnessed a royal charter at 
Pembroke on 7th October (Round, Commune of London, p. 152). 


CHAP, was to have Ystlwyf and Efelffre,^'^ on the south bank of the 
^^" western Taf. Emlyn, also, which Rhys had taken from William 
fitz Gerald in 1165, was left in his hands.^^ In further proof 
of his goodwill the king released Rhys's son Hywel, whose 
long residence in England as a hostage earned for him after- 
wards the epithet of " Sais," i.e., Englishman. He also allowed 
the prince, ample time to make up the amount of the promised 
tribute, contenting himself with a few horses in present satis- 
faction of what was due. Having thus unmistakably shown 
his intention to treat Rhys henceforth as a trusty friend and 
supporter, he sailed for Ireland on the i6th of October, and on 
the next day landed near Waterford.^^ 

For the rest of his life Rhys held a position of unquestioned 
supremacy in South Wales. In the summer of 1171 he had 
resolved to make Aberteifi the chief stronghold of his do- 
minions ; on the ruins of the dismantled fortress of Robert fitz 
Stephen there arose ere long a brand new castle of stone and 
mortar, a visible emblem of the power of a prince who, with 
the keen insight into affairs which always distinguished him, 
was resolved henceforth to be recognised not only as a great 
Welsh chieftain but also as a great baron of the realm. Henry's 
return to England by way of St. David's and Cardiff in the 
spring of 1172 gave Rhys an opportunity of still further im- 
proving his relations with the English crown. The king was 
by this time impatient to be back in Normandy, where the 
pope's legates were ready to purge him from the stain of the 
archbishop's murder. ^"^ He landed at Forth Stinan ^^ with a 
small following (the bulk of his train had sailed for Pembroke) 

2'' The reading of B.T. is, of course, to be preferred to the " arwistli ac 
alvael " of B. Saes. Ystrad Tywi must in this instance be taken not to include 
the third cantref (Cantref Eginog). For the situation of Ystlwyf or Oisterlaph 
see Owen, Pemb. i. pp. 206, 213. 

28 William apparently received no compensation, but on his death in 1174 
(Gir. Camb. v. 310— " ob patris quem audierat obitum ") his eldest son Odo 
received twenty librates of land in Braunton in North Devon " in escambium 
Castelli et terrae de Emelin quamdiu Resus filius Griffini ea habuerit" (Pipe 
Roll, 20 Hen. H. 89). 

2» B.T., if we read "tachwed" for the obvious slip "racuyr," agrees with 
Ben. Abb. (i. 25) as to these dates. 

3" Eyton, Itin. 164-7. 

»i Suggested by the editor (G. H. Orpen) as really meant by the " port/man " 
of the " Song of Dermot," v. 2758. It lies, " a demi lui de sein daui " (v, 2761), 
opposite Ramsey Island— see Jones and Freem. 13. 


on the morning of Easter Monday (i 7th April), was received by chap. 
the canons at the White or Western Gate, heard mass in the ^^' 
cathedral, and having, in the absence of any other preparation, 
eaten the dinner (by an august providence saved for him, says 
the courtly Giraldus) of one of the minor clerics of the place, 
made off with all speed for Haverfordwest.^^ Yet he was not 
too busy to see Rhys at Talacharn (Laugharne) and to conclude 
with him an agreement which a little later led to the appoint- 
ment of the prince of Deheubarth as " justice " of South Wales.^^ 
Interpreted in the light of subsequent events, this somewhat 
singular title may be taken to signify that Rhys was henceforth 
to have under his control the lesser chieftains of South Wales, 
in Gwynllwg, Gwent, Morgannwg, Elfael and Maelienydd, and 
to be responsible for their good behaviour. It is the position 
which seems to be set forth by another title peculiar to Rhys, 
who is constantly termed by poet and chronicler " yr Arglwydd 
Rhys "—the Lord Rhys.^^ 

It was not many months ere Rhys had ample opportunity 
to show his gratitude and justify the confidence reposed in 
him. The king's difficulties, far from disappearing with his re- 
conciliation to the pope, were about to enter upon their most 
acute stage. As he travelled home from Ireland he had re- 
ceived Divine warning — so the tale was afterwards told — of the 
storm which was soon to burst upon him and test to the 
foundations the stately fabric of his rule. As he lingered after 
mass on Low Sunday in St. Piran's Chapel within the walls of 
Cardiff Castle, he had been confronted by a strange, uncouth 
figure, who had ordered him to forbid Sunday markets through- 
out his realm. ^^ His reply had been a jest, whereupon the un- 
known monitor had promised him, ere a twelvemonth had 

^ Ben. Abb. i. 30 ; Diceto, i. 351 ; Gir. Camb. v. 286-92 {Exp. Hib. i. 38, 
40). For the " Alba Porta "or " Porth Gwyn " see Jones and Freem. 208. 

33 "Justus yn hoU deheubarth" (Bruts, 330; B.T. 218); " vstvs a r de- 
heubarth kymre " {B. Saes. s.a. 1172). The position of the notice implies that 
the writ or other formal instrument was issued after the king's return to England. 

3* B.T. first uses the title in its account of 1165 and thereafter has it regu- 
larly. B. Saes. and Ann. C. are without it. We probably owe it in the first 
instance to the poets. 

38 Gir. Camb. vi. 64-5 (Itin. i. 6). St. Piran was a Cornish saint (H. and St. 
i. 157) ; his chapel, according to Leland (Wales, 35), was in Shoemaker Street (now 
Duke Street) — a description which does not suggest it was part of the castle 


CHAP, elapsed, such trouble as would last him to the end of his life. 


In the few moments which Henry took to digest this rebuke, 
the man vanished from the scene beyond recall. It was in fact 
at Eastertide, 1 173, that the great revolt of Henry's sons began 
which combined all the king's enemies in France and Britain 
against him and which was not suppressed for a year and a 
half, leaving even then a legacy of bitterness and mistrust which 
darkened all the rest of the reign. In this crisis Rhys was not 
found wanting. At the first news of rebellion, he sent his son 
Hywel to Normandy to serve in the king's train. ^^ In the 
following year, when the tumult had spread to England, he 
led a large force to the siege of Tutbury on the Dove, a castle 
which Earl Ferrers was holding against the royal officers.'^ 
When the king's arrival at Northampton brought about the 
submission of the earl at the end of July,^® Rhys's troops, to the 
number of i ,000, were transferred to the immediate service of 
the king and crossed the Channel with him in August, to fight 
his battles against Louis of France. ^^ Well might the chron- 
icler say that at this time Rhys was the king's " right loving 
friend ".*o 

In May, 1175, Henry returned to England. The skies 
were now serene, and the king began once more to hold 
councils for the settlement of public affairs. The assembly 
which met at Gloucester on 29th June was devoted to Welsh 
business and affords striking proof of the commanding position 
which Rhys had now attained.'*^ He appeared at the head of 
all the minor princes of the South, most of them connected 
with him by ties of kinship or marriage, and all relying upon 
his influence and protection to keep them in good standing 
with the crown. Three of them came from the lands between 

^^B.T. p. 222; B. Saes. s.a. 1173. 

" Diceto, s.a. 1174 (i. 384). The Pipe Roll, 20 Hen. II. (1173-4) records 
allowances made to the sheriffs of Gloucester, Oxford, and Hereford for food and 
drink supplied to Rhys and his men in this campaign (21, 77, 121). 

3^ Ben. Abb. i. 73. 

^^ Ibid. i. 74 (" duxit secum . . . mille Walenses "). This force must have 
been that of Rhys, since between 31st July and 8th August there was no time to 
collect a new one. 

40 41 Y gwr aoed garedickaf gyfeillt gan y brenhin yn yr amser hwnnw " 
{Bruts, 333 ; B.T. 226). 

■*! Ben. Abb. i. 92, whose date I adopt in preference to that of B. Saes. 
(" Duw gwyl lago apostol," i.e., 25th July). B.T. and B. Saes. give the particu- 
lars as to the " aliis regibus Walliae ". 


Wye and Severn ; Cadwallon ap Madog of Maelienydd was CHAP, 
his first cousin,'*^ Einion Clud of Elfael, a brother of Cadwallon, ^^' 
was his son-in-law,^^ and so too was Einion ap Rhys of Gwerth- 
rynion.** Two were from Morgannwg, namely, Morgan ap 
Caradog ab lestyn, who had succeeded his father at Aberafan 
and was the son of Rhys's sister Gwladus,*^ and Grufifydd of 
Senghenydd, son of the redoubtable Ifor Bach, and another 
nephew, therefore, of the lord of Aberteifi.*^ From Upper 
Gwent came Seisyll ap Dyfnwal, who had married Gwladus 
after the death of her first husband,*'^ while Gwynllwg was 
represented by lorwerth ab Owain, the only one of the seven, it 
would seem, who was not allied by some family tie to their 
common lord and champion. Yet even for lorwerth, Rhys was 
able to do something. Since the king had taken Caerleon from 
him in 1 1 7 1 , he had maintained a constant struggle against the 
royal power and had seen some changes of fortune. When 
Henry was passing through Newport in 1 172, he had sum- 
moned lorwerth to meet him and discuss his grievances with 
him, but the unfortunate murder at this moment of the young 
Owain ab lorwerth by men of the Earl of Gloucester from 
Cardiff put an end at once to the negotiations and drove 
lorwerth and his surviving son Hywel into the ways of rapine 
and outlawry once more.*^ In 1 173 the outbreak of the revolt 
against Henry gave them an opportunity which they did not 

^* For Cadwallon's ancestry see chap. xiii. note 59. " Y gefynderw " implies 
that Madog ab Idnerth had married a daughter of Gruffydd ap Cynan or of Rhys 
ap Tewdwr. As Gir. Camb. (i. 31) claimed kinship with Cadwallon, the latter is 
the more likely explanation. 

•** According to Gir. Camb. vi. 14 (Itin. i. i), it was Einion ab Einion Clud 
who had a daughter of Rhys to wife, and this is for reasons of chronology more 

** Of unknown parentage. Gir. Camb. vi. 17 {Itin. i. i) says he was a 
mighty hunter, but lost his right eye and became paralysed after shooting a 
marvellous doe which had horns like a buck's. 

"•* For Caradog see chap, xii, note 150. 

*^ This name has dropped out of B.T. For Ifor see page 507. B. Sues. 
makes Gruffydd a brother of Ifor, but from Cartae Giant, iii. 112-3 it appears that 
he was the son of Ifor and Nest. 

^^ Gir. Camb. (vi. 49, note 2 — the passage only occurs in the first edition) 
confirms this statement as to the connection of Seisyll and Rhys. Seisyll had 
been previously married to Dyddgu, sister of lorwerth ab Owain (B. Saes. s.a. 
1171 — the " agharat " of the Red Book [Bruts, 328] is a slip due to the occur- 
rence of the name in the previous line). 

*^ B.T. and B. Saes. " larll bristaw " is Earl William of Gloucester, who 
was lord of Glamorgan from 1147-83. 


CHAP, neglect; on 2ist July lorwerth regained possession of the 
keep of Caerleon, and this success was followed on 1 6th August 
by a great raid upon Nether Went which carried Hywel to the 
walls of Chepstow.^^ When the turn of the tide came in the 
summer of 1 1 74, Hywel had good reason to fear the king's 
vengeance, but Henry's speedy return to Normandy *** relieved 
his anxiety for the time. Soon after the castle of Usk which 
he held was betrayed into the hands of Earl Richard's men, 
while early in 1 175 he and his father lost Caerleon once again. 
Hywel's cruel mutilation of a relative of whose rivalry he was 
afraid had perhaps weakened his hold upon the Welshmen of 
Gwynllwg, but, be this as it may, his father secured the good 
offices of Rhys, and, as the result of the conference at Gloucester, 
was reinstated in the much-coveted City of the Legion. Cad- 
wallon and Einion Clud, who had also scores to settle with the 
king, purchased the enjoyment of their lands by promising each 
to pay a composition of 1,000 cattle. ^^ 

Notwithstanding the harmony which prevailed on this occa- 
sion, the year, ere it closed, was stained by a treacherous 
massacre which bred a long and obstinate feud between the 
Welsh and the English of Upper Gwent. It had no effect upon 
the fortunes of the Lord Rhys, but it well illustrates the difficult 
task he had in hand in endeavouring to secure peace between 
the two races. On the death of Earl Roger of Hereford in 
1155,^2 the lordships of Brecknock and Upper Gwent had 
passed to his brother Walter, who succeeded to the family 

■*^ B.T. (222) is precise in its dates, and, if " yr eildyd (arbymthec — MSS. 
B. C.) o vis Medi " be taken to mean xvii. Kal. Sept., will be found correct in its 
mention of the days of the week. Gir. Camb. vi. 60 (Itin. i. 5) refers to the raid ; 
it was foretold, he says, by Meilyr, a famous Welsh seer of these parts. 

^^ This, too, was predicted by Meilyr (Gir. as above). The capture of Usk 
from the Welsh by the men of Earl Richard is recorded in Pipe Roll, 20 Hen. H. 
22, and also in Gir. Camb. vi. 60-1, where it is said that the seer was thereat 
mortally wounded. 

51 " Idem vicecomes [Wm. of Briouze, sheriff of Herefordshire] reddit com- 
potum de ;^333 6s. 8d. [ = 500 marks] de fine Cadewallan et Enial Clut quem 
fecerunt cum Rege de animalibus, quisque de mille. In thesauro £59 12s. 
Et in Camera Curie per manum Rannulfi Poherii £63 per breve regis " (Pipe Roll, 
21 Hen. II. 88-9). The balance of £210 14s. 8d. was never paid, though, in 
accordance with the system of the Exchequer, it appeared regularly in the rolls, 
being found as late as Michaelmas, 1189 (Pipe Roll, i Rd. I. 142). 

5* Ann. Theokesb., B.T. (see Mostyn MS. 116 in Evans, Rep. i. p. 60, for the 
true reading — " a rosser iarll henford "), R. de Torigni, p. 185. For charters 
granted by Roger to Brecon Priory see Arch. Camb. III. xiv. (1883), 143-51. 


estates but not to the earldom. In a few years Walter's CHAP, 
death without issue ^^ caused the patrimony again to pass to a 
brother, Henry, and, by a strange fatality much commented 
upon at the time, Henry and a fourth brother, named Mahel, 
in turn came to these lands, only to lose them in a little while 
through a sudden stroke which carried them off while as yet 
they were without heirs.^* Henry was slain in Gwent by 
Seisyll ap Dyfnwal on 12th April, Ii75;'' Mahel a few 
months later was killed in a fire which broke out at Walter 
Clifford's castle of Bronllys, when a stone from the summit of 
the keep fell on his head.^« It was the death of Henry which 
led to the massacre of Abergavenny. Brecknock and Upper 
Gwent had now come into the possession of a new family, for 
when the catastrophe at Bronllys cut off the last of the male 
line of Earl Miles," his inheritance had been divided, as was 
the rule in such cases, between his daughters, the sisters of 
Mahel, and the two Welsh lordships had been assigned to 
Bertha, the wife of William of Briouze, lord of Radnor and 
Builth.^^ Their son William, a man who was for thirty-five 
years to play a leading part in the history of South Wales, 
took over this great marcher inheritance at the end of 1 175 
and signalised the beginning of his rule by exacting a pitiless 

83 Walter ceased to be sheriff of Herefordshire in the autumn of 1159, and is 
not heard of afterwards. For his charters to Brecon see Arch. Camb. as above, 
152-4. Gir. Camb. vi. 51, note 3 (text of first ed.), appears to say he died a 
sudden death after a deed of treachery against the Welsh at Abergavenny. 
Upper Gwent had been acquired by Earl Miles in 1141 or 1142 (chap. xiv. note 

54 Gir. Camb. vi. 29-30 (Itin. i. 2). There was a fifth son, William, placed 
by Gir. between Henry and Mahel, who did not live to succeed. 

5s According to a document of the time of Edward I. printed in Mon. Angl. 
iv. 615, Henry was slain " a quodam satellite nomine Senell filio Donwaldi iuxta 
castrurn Arnaldi," i.e., Arnold's Castle, S.E. of Abergavenny. 

5«Gir Camb. vi. 30-1 (Itin. i. 2). For a charter of " Maihelus de Here- 
fordia " to Brecon, see Arch. Camb. HI. xiv. (1883), 154-5- He had been given 
by his father as a hostage to Robert of Gloucester in 1142 {Geoff. Mand. 382). 
As " Matthaeo de Herefordia " he was a witness to the Constitutions of 
Clarendon in 1164 (Stubbs, Select Charters). For the Chfford lordship of Can- 
tref Selyf in Brecknock see p. 438. 

57 The date of Mabel's death is not recorded, but it must clearly have been 
earlier than that of the massacre. -a v, v, 

58 The common account, drawn from Mon. Angl. iv. 615, makes Bertha the 
consort of Philip of Briouze, but for the true genealogy see Diet. Nat. Biog. vi. 
p. 229 {]. H. Round). For the Briouze family see pp. 402, 436. 


CHAP, vengeance for the murder of his uncle Henry. ^® Shrewd con- 
temporaries absolved him from some of the guilt of this blood- 
thirsty deed, blaming the elders who advised him, his uncle, 
Philip of Briouze and Ranulf Poer, a royal official of the 
borders, and even holding the king in a measure responsible. 
But the popular voice attributed to him the full infamy of a 
crime committed in his own castle and by his own men. 
Under pretext of hearing a royal ordinance as to the bearing 
of arms, Seisyll, his son, Geoffrey, and other leading Welsh- 
men of Gwent were lured to Abergavenny and there set upon 
and slain without the slightest warning. Not content with 
this, the retainers of William had forthwith mounted their 
swiftest horses, and, before the tidings of their exploit had got 
abroad, had spread ruin far and wide in Seisyll's country, 
which was near at hand. Arrived at the court of the slain 
chieftain, they had carried his wife away as a captive and had 
slain in her arms his seven-year-old son, named Cadwaladr. 
The border warfare was at all times savage and unpitying, but 
it did not often witness perfidy and barbarity of this deep dye ; 
small wonder was it, men thought, that misfortune should 
beset the path of the lord of Abergavenny. 

With a rapid transition from grave to gay, one passes from 
this scene of blood to the great festival held by the Lord Rhys 
at Christmastide, 1176. It was celebrated in the new castle of 
Aberteifi, and is of special interest as the occasion of the first 
Eisteddfod of which there is trustworthy record.*" True it is 
that the institution does not appear under this name, but its 
features are unmistakable. First of all, it was proclaimed 
twelve months in advance, in accordance with a custom which 
is still followed, and competitors were invited, not only from all 
parts of Wales, but also from England, Scotland *^ and Ireland. 
Next, one observes that a twofold competition was organised ; 
the one was poetic and intended to test the mettle of bards 
from North and South Wales and their skill in the Welsh 

'^^ Ann. C. ; B.T. 226; B. Saes. s.a. 1175 ; Diceto, i. 401; Gir. Camb. 
vi. 49-53 {Itin. i. 4). 

8" The original of B.T. and B. Saes., a contemporary chronicle, is the 
authority for this event. Gw. Brut is the sole authority for the eisteddfodau of 
1107 (= 1109) and 1135 (= 1136). 

61 i« phrydyn " {B. Saes.), " Phrydein " {Bruts, 334). See chap. xiv. note 


metres ; the other was musical, open, it would seem, to the CHAP, 
minstrels of any nation and to the player of any instrument, 
for mention is made not only of harpists, but also of crowders 
and pipers. ^^ Lastly, the prize in each case was a chair, sug- 
gested, no doubt, by the chair which was won by the successful 
" pencerdd," ®^ and supplemented, as a mere honorary reward, 
by more satisfying gifts from the hand of the bounteous giver 
of the feast. The musical chair, it is recorded, was carried off 
by one of Rhys's own subjects, but the poetic honours fell to 
the men of Gwynedd ; thus early did the South prove its 
aptitude for music and the North its skill in the weaving of 
Welsh verse. North and South joined to do honour in this 
memorable gathering to the prince whose gifts of leadership had 
made him the first Welshman of his time. 

While Rhys was thus winning triumph upon triumph, 
Gwynedd had been distracted by the rivalries of the sons of 
Owain.^* Civil war had broken out immediately upon the 
death of the Northern hero, and the first victim was the warrior- 
poet Hywel, who was overwhelmed in a battle fought near 
Pentraeth in Anglesey before the end of the year 1 170.''^ His 
enemies were Owain's widow, Christina, and her sons, 
Dafydd and Rhodri, who thus got rid of a formidable com- 
petitor for the chief place in Gwynedd. The seven sons of 
Cadifor, his foster-father, bravely defended their lord : — 

The sons of Cadifor, a noble band of brothers, 

In the hollow above Pentraeth, 
Were full of daring and of high purpose — 
They were cut down beside their foster-brother. 

*2 Only in B.T., but B. Sues, is much given to omitting details. Gir. 
Camb. (vi. 187 [Descr. i. 12]) says: "tribus autem utuntur instrumentis ; 
cithara, tibiis, et choro," and the same trio is found in LL. ii. 18 : " telyn yhun 
a crud yarall a pybeu yr tredyt ". The *' crotta " (whence " crwth " and crowd) 
was a British musical instrument in the sixth century (Venantius Fortunatus, 
Carmina, ed. Leo, VII. viii. 64). 

«=' P. 530. 

^* In addition to the sons who died before him, viz., Rhun (d. 1146) and 
Llywelyn (d. 1165), and the two hostages, Cadwallon and Cynwrig, blinded by 
Henry II., Owain had the following sons who survived him: (i) Hywel, by 
Pyfog, an Irishwoman. By Gwladus, daughter of Llywarch ap Trahaearn of 
Arwystli, (2) lorwerth and (3) Maelgwn. By Christina, (4) Dafydd and (5) 
Rhodri. By an unknown woman, (6) Cynan. 

^^ Ann. C. MS. B. ; B.T. 206; B. Saes. s.a. 1170; poems in Myv. Arch. 
I. 418, 524 (281, 346). Graves discovered in 1903 on the farm of Rhos y Gad 
(Battle Moor), near Pentraeth, are supposed to be those of warriors who fell in 
this fray {Arch. Camb. VI. iv. [1904], 82-4). 
VOL. II. 13 


CHAP. It would be difficult to find a more apt illustration of the way 
in which the custom of fosterage perverted the natural order 
of things, taking away the affection of brethren in blood for 
each other and substituting for it the attachment of ioster- 
brethren brought up under the same roof®® After the battle 
of Pentraeth peace reigned in Gwynedd for a season ; the re- 
maining sons of Owain appear to have agreed upon a partition 
of their father's lands, and the death of their uncle Cadwaladr 
on the night of 29th February, 1 172,®'^ increased in a little while 
the divisible stock. It has, indeed, been very persistently 
asserted that lorwerth, who bore the nickname " Trwyndwn," 
i.e., Flat-nosed,®^ was excluded by his deformity from all share 
in the succession,®^ and, having been driven out of Gwynedd, 
came to an untimely end in Powys. But an elegy upon him 
by Seisyll Bryffwrch is extant, in which he is styled " ruler of 
Arfon," and his grave is said to be in Llandudclud, a church at 
the head of the Conway Valley, now known as Penmachno.^*^ 
Hence it is certain that he was included in the general division, 
and there would seem to be good ground for the tradition that 
he held the commote of Nanconwy, with its castle of Dolwyd- 
delan.^^ Another son of Owain, named Maelgwn, received 
Anglesey as his portion, while Cynan, it may be conjectured, 
was established in the regions afterwards held by his sons, 
namely, Ardudwy, Eifionydd and Meirionydd. 

It was the ambition of Dafydd which first led to a renewal 
of strife. In 1173 he drove Maelgwn from Anglesey, and in 
the following year embarked upon a much larger scheme of 

88 C/. Gir. Camb. vi. 212 (D«cr. ii. 4). 

67 <'0 wyl Clemens hyt yn nos ynyt [Shrove Tuesday night] a blwydyn y 
bu varw cadwaladyr wedy owein " (" O Oes Gwrtheyrn," Bruts, 405). B.T. 
says " vis Mawrth ". He was buried in Bangor Cathedral, by the side of his 
brother (Gir. Camb. vi. 133 \Itin. ii. 8]). 

^ " lerverdum Troyndun, quod Kambrice simus sonat " (Gir. Camb. vi. 134). 

69 Powel, 166, followed by many others. The blemishes which excluded an 
heir under Welsh law were only those which incapacitated for judicial or military 
duties (Dim. H. xxiii. 9). Penn. (iii. 174-5), relying on local tradition, pointed out 
lorwerth's tombstone in the churchyard of Pennant Melangell in Montgomeryshire. 
But the effigy in question is of much later date than 1175 and seems to com- 
memorate a thirteenth-century descendant of Rhiryd Flaidd (Arch. Camb. IV. 
viii. [1877], 321). 

""> Myv. Arch. I. 338 (235-6). For Tudclud see chap. viii. note 38. 

''I North {Old Churches of Arllechwedd, Bangor, 1906, p. 131) believes that 
the existing ruins may be in part of the age of lorwerth. 


aggression, involving the conquest of the whole of Gwynedd. CHAP. 
The death of Cynan in this year removed one obstacle from his 
path, and the imprisonment of Maelgwn, who had returned from 
an exile in Ireland to renew his claims, disposed of another ; 
lorwerth was most probably dead, and thus Dafydd had only 
to deal with his brother Rhodri and his nephews,'^^ Gruffydd 
and Maredudd, the sons of Cynan. He overcame them with- 
out difficulty and then bethought himself of a scheme for still 
further strengthening his position. In the upheaval of 1 173-4 
he had been no less loyal to Henry than had Rhys of South 
Wales,'^^ and it seemed to him he might claim some reward. 
He despatched a special envoy, one Simon the Monk,'* to ask 
from the king the hand of his half-sister Emma, who was a 
natural daughter of Geoffrey of Anjou,^^ famed for her beauty, 
and now, it would seem, a widow. '^'^ Henry did not regard the 
match with a very favourable eye,'"^ but Dafydd was at the 
moment an important ally, and the marriage took place in the 
summer of 1 174.^^ For a few months the star of the newly 
wedded prince was decidedly in the ascendant, and his poet, 
Gwilym Rhyfel, though he would do nothing so unbardic as 
congratulate his patron upon the foreign alliance, is reckless in 
the extravagance of his eulogy.^^ Dafydd has the three gifts — 
the strength of Hercules, the wisdom of Solomon, the comeli- 
ness of Adam. Next to the friendship of God, none is so 
greatly to be desired as that of the king of Cemais, whose hand 
replenishes the cups of yellow gold. 

But in the following year Dafydd's greatness underwent a 
considerable eclipse. To make sure of his most dangerous 
rival, Rhodri, he had imprisoned him ; the captive, however, 

■^" So far as is known, Dafydd had in 1174 no " ewythred " {B.T.) or 
"gevynderiw" (B. Saes.^ on the male side. No doubt the chronicler meant to 
say " nephews ". 

■?3 Ben. Abb. i. 51. 

^* Pipe Roll, 20 Hen. \\. 7, 133, records two payments made to this messen- 

7B Diceto, i. 397-8. ^^ So thinks Eyton, Itin. 85, note 5. 

''^ " Vix obtinuit," says Diceto. 

^8 B.T. and B. Saes. assign it to 1175, Diceto to 1174 ; the entries in Pipe 
Roll, 20 Hen. II. 9, 16, 94, show conclusively that it was celebrated before Michael- 
mas in the latter year. The sheriffs of London provided the lady's wedding 
outfit at a cost of £28 17s. 

Tfl Myv. Arch. I. 274 (196-7). " Vreyenhin Kemeis " points to the two years 
(i 173-5) during which Dafydd held Anglesey. 

13 * 


CHAP, soon made his escape, and appealed so successfully to the men 
of Anglesey and Eryri that Dafydd was dislodged from his 
newly won gains to the west of the Conway and forced to fall 
back upon the cantrefs to the east of the river, over which he 
had a stronger hold. At the same time the sons of Cynan 
recovered their father's lands. The point has now been reached 
at which the contending forces let loose by the removal of 
Owain Gwynedd attain an equilibrium. Dafydd finds him- 
self unable to unite the whole of Gwynedd in subjection to 
him, and agrees to a partition with Rhodri, with the Conway 
as the line of division, while by common consent Meirionydd, 
Ardudwy, and Eifionydd are reserved for Gruffydd and Mare- 
dudd ap Cynan. These arrangements were not carried out 
without some heart-burnings among those whom they forced 
to a transfer of allegiance ; the poet Gwalchmai bewails the 
loss of his liberal patron Dafydd : — ^^ 

I shall be poorly bestead without it, 
The friendship of my renowned Dafydd. 
Rhodri will not keep me ; he needs me not, 
He sets no price upon me. 

He consoles himself by recalling the names of the great ones 
he has served, Owain, Cadwallon, Cadwaladr, the sons of 
Gruffydd, Madog, the son of Maredudd — true lovers of his 
art who knew his worth — 

Well earned were their praises. 

But time soon healed these wounds, and in later years Gwalch- 
mai sang with all his accustomed fire in praise of Rhodri, the 
" great rampart of his people ".^^ 

In 1 177 there was another great gathering of Welsh princes 
for conference with their English overlord, representing, not 
South Wales alone, as at Gloucester in 1175, but the three 
provinces of Gwynedd, Powys, and Deheubarth. The first 
meeting was apparently at Geddington, in the Forest of Rock- 
ingham, where fealty was sworn to the king by a number of 
Welshmen in the early part of May ; ^^ later in the month 

80 " Awdl . . . i Dafyd mab Owain " in Myv. Arch. I. 198-9 (146). 

81 " Canu . . . i Rodri fab Owain " in Myv. Arch. I. 199-200 (146-7). For 
' Rodri mawr mur ciwdodoed " see v. 16. 

82 Ben. Abb. i. 159. 


there assembled to meet the king at Oxford a company which CHAP, 
included nearly every Welsh prince bearing rule at the time in ' 

the country.^^ Rhodri, indeed, was absent, and so, too, the 
sons of Cynan, the latter, as will be seen, to their cost, but 
Dafydd, the prince of Gwynedd whose conduct most nearly 
affected England, inasmuch as he held Tegeingl and Dyffryn 
Clwyd, was in attendance. From Powys came Owain Cyfeiliog, 
well known at the English court for his ready wit and his 
constant loyalty to Henry, and highly esteemed by his people 
as a just and enlightened ruler. ^^ His cousin and namesake, 
Owain Fychan, lord of Mechain, Cynllaith, and Mochnant Is 
Rhaeadr,^^ was not at the council, but Northern Powys was 
represented by another of the sons of Madog ap Maredudd, 
Gruffydd of Bromfield, ruler of Maelor and of lal. Madog 
ab lorwerth Goch was also present, but rather in the capacity 
of " latimer " or king's interpreter, which he had inherited from 
his father, than as a territorial lord.^^ The Lord Rhys answered 
for Deheubarth and, as became the position he had now attained, 
takes the first place in the chronicler's list. Lastly, Cadwallon 
ap Madog of Maelienydd came from the region betwixt the 
Wye and the Severn ; the death of his brother, Einion Clud, is 
recorded by the Welsh chronicles under this very year, so that 
perhaps he came to court with hopes of adding Elfael also to 
his possessions.**^ Other princes made their profit out of the 
conference. Dafydd prevailed on the king to grant him as a 
marriage gift the lordship of Ellesmere,^^ while Rhys set up a 
claim, which, in the absence of the sons of Cynan, was not 
contested, to the cantref of Meirionydd. 

The spirit of concession shown by the crown at the Council 
of Oxford marks a definite stage in the long struggle between 
Wales and the English power. A period of truce has been 

^ Ben. Abb. i. 162. 

^* Gir. Camb. vi. 144-5 {^tin. ii. 12). He is mentioned, with Dafydd, as one 
of the supporters of the king in 1173 (Ben. Abb. i. 51). 

^''Cynddelw in his elegy {Myv. Arch. I. 216 [157]) calls him " arglwyt ... 
mochnant," " rwyf mechein," and " keinllyw kynlleith". For the division of 
Mochnant in 1166 see p. 520. 

^8 Eyton, Itin. 214. 

8'' I would thus explain the " rex de Delwain " of Ben. Abb. 

88 The lordship of Ellesmere was given by Henry I. to William Peverel of 
Dover, from whom it passed to his son, William, and his nephew, Walkelin 


CHAP, reached, during which England abandons all attempts upon 
^^' the independence of its ancient foe and is content to see Rhys 
ap Gruffydd and his lesser companions in arms grow strong 
and rich and influential. Henry had perhaps taken to heart 
the words of the wise old Welshman whom he had asked, on 
the expedition to Pencader in 1 163, his opinion as to the effect 
of the royal campaign. " I doubt not," was the reply, " that 
now, as oftentimes of yore, this race of mine may be brought 
low and much broken by the might of English arms. Yet the 
wrath of man, if God's anger be not added, will never utterly 
destroy it. For I am persuaded that no other race than this 
and no other tongue than this of Wales, happen what may, 
will answer in the great Day of Judgment for this little corner 
of the earth." 8» 


(The works of Gir., as edited in the Rolls Series, with the prefaces of Brewer, 
Dimock, and Warner, supply ample material for the subject of this chapter. 
Mention may also be made of Owen's Gerald the Welshman (second ed. 1904), 
Hoare's edition of the Itinerary, and the translation of the Irish and the Welsh 
treatises edited by T. Wright for Bohn's Series.) 

Among the many figures which crowd the stage at this 
period of our narrative, none stands out more clearly than that 
of Gerald of Barry, long known to the world of letters by his 
scholastic name of Giraldus Cambrensis. In the eyes of the 
men of his own age he was not, indeed, a figure of the first 
rank,^" and, did we depend upon his contemporaries for our 
knowledge of him, we should scarcely distinguish him among 
the many busy scholars and clerics of his day. But, with 
prodigal self-revelation, he has told us his own story, and, 
while that sure literary touch of his, inspired as it was by acute 
observation and keen interest in the common things of life, 
has made his epoch a living reality for us, in a way that is true 
of no other period of early Welsh history, it may be said that 
nothing is so lifelike in the picture as Giraldus himself The 
portrait could not be improved ; a duller soul would have 
painted himself in dull, conventional tones of the right clerical 

88 Gir. Camb. vi. 227 (Descr. ii. 10). 

»» He is not mentioned in Ann. C, B.T. or B. Saes. Gervase (ii, 411) has a 
short account, strongly hostile to Gir,, of the struggle of 1 198-1203, 


hue ; a wiser one, less charmingly open and frank in his vanity, CHAP, 
would have drawn a stately and impressive figure, clad in robes ^^* 
of dignity and uprightness, and would never have been be- 
trayed into those disclosures of weakness and folly which make 
Giraldus one of the most amusing and at the same time one of 
the most lovable men of his age. 

By birth and upbringing Giraldus was a member of the 
foreign colony settled in Southern Dyfed. His father was 
William of Barry, lord of Manorbier, where about 1 1 46 Gir- 
aldus was born.^^ His mother was Angharad, daughter of 
Gerald of Windsor, the castellan of Pembroke. His brother 
Robert was one of the foremost of the Anglo-Norman invaders 
of Ireland,^2 ^nd another brother Philip took a part somewhat 
later in the same great movement.^^ Notwithstanding all this, he 
had some Welsh blood in his veins ; his grandmother on the 
maternal side was the famous Nest, daughter of Rhys ap Tew- 
dwr, and what is remarkable is that from the first he made the 
utmost of this connection, never failing to emphasise his Welsh 
descent,^* regarding Wales as his beloved ifatherland,^^ and 
posing as a Welsh patriotic leader. For the English as a race 
he was full of contempt ; they were born to slavery and in 
Wales were neatherds, shepherds, cobblers, craftsmen and what 
not, plebeians of the rankest kind ; ®® the noble Norman first 
claimed his admiration, and, next in order, the freeborn, fearless 
Welshman, who spoke his mind unabashed in the presence of 
kings.®^ He was proud of his knowledge of Welsh, though at 
the same time far from proficient in the tongue, and he was 
always willing to try his hand at the interpretation of Welsh 
place-names, a pursuit as fascinating for him as for others in 
our own day no less slenderly equipped than he was.^^ Never- 

®^ De Rebus, i. i (i. 21). Manorbier (" natale solum genialeque territor- 
ium") is described in Itin. i. 12 (vi. 92-3). For the year cf. i. 41 {De Rebus, i. 
9), where it is said that Giraldus was not 30 (or 29 ?) at the time of his election 
in the summer of 1176, and viii. 292 (Princ. Instr. iii.), where it is said he was 
about completing his twentieth year at the time of the birth of Philip Augustus 
in August, 1 165. 

92 See p. 538. »3Gir. V. 351. 

»■* " Ex utraque gente originem duximus " (Descr. ii. 10 [vi. 226]). 

95 Pref. prima to Descr. '^ Invect. v. 21 (i. 150) ; i. 4 (iii. 27). 

^"^ Descr. i. 15 (vi. 192-3). 

9^ For his translations of place-names see vi. 36, 37, 92, 127, 131, 165, 169, 
171, 172. His explanation of Ynys Lannog (see chap, vii, note in) suggests 


CHAP, theless, the Welsh themselves never recognised in this brilliant 
cosmopolitan scholar a genuine fellow-countryman ; like some 
great comet in the sky, he startled and aroused them, extorted 
their admiration, and then disappeared, to be thought of no 

The youngest of four brothers, Giraldus was from early 
youth designed for a clerical career. His uncle, David fitz 
Gerald, was bishop of St. David's,^^ and it was under his rela- 
tive's guidance he commenced his studies. In course of time 
he found his way to Paris, then the goal of all ambitious young 
scholars in Northern Europe, and spent his early manhood, 
during three long terms of residence,^ ''^ in the discipline of its 
schools, from which he emerged a skilled writer of Latin, 
thoroughly steeped in the classical learning (by no means con- 
temptible) of the day, with a mind well stocked with the most 
diverse information and a fluent pen which could transmute 
into literature the most unpromising material. Thus equipped 
he returned to Dyfed about 1175,^°^ in readiness for the part, 
for which his family influence predestined him, of the aristo- 
cratic secular clerk and pluralist, the man of many benefices, 
active in business, haughty in temper, of pronounced patrician 
sympathies. To the end of his life Giraldus hated all monks 
without distinction, and for them he reserved his choicest vials 
of invective.^°^ Their ideal of seclusion from the world made 
no appeal to him ; ^"^^ their aggressive claims and lofty preten- 
sions moved him to indignant ridicule. Nevertheless, he fully 
accepted the monastic ideal of celibacy and chastity as the rule 
for the whole clerical order and in this respect was a fierce re- 
former, ever thundering against the laxity which, in spite of the 

that he made independent guesses and did not always follow local information. 
Nevertheless, there is no record of his preaching in Welsh ; the interpreter in 
1188 was Archdeacon Alexander of Bangor. 
»» See p. 482. 

100 (< Tresque status annorum plurium " (De Rebus, i. 2 [i. 23]) means far 
more than " three years " (Brewer in loco). He was in Paris in 1165 — see note 
91 above. 

101 Wharton {Ang. Sacr. ii. 374) suggested 1172 and this is accepted by 
Brewer (vol. i. pref. xv). But the first known event in the history of Giraldus 
after his return connects him with Archbishop Richard, who was consecrated at 
Anagni on 7th April, 1174 {Reg. Sacr. (2), 49). 

^"2 See, especially. Spec, ii., iii. and Itin. i. 3. 

103 < I Monachus . . . sui solius curam agit. Clericus vero circa multorum 
curam solicitari tenetur " {Top. Hib. i. 30 [v. 176]). 


rule of the Church, had allowed the rise among secular priests CHAP, 
of real though unacknowledged marriage.^"^ It was, no doubt, 
the conviction of Giraldus that, unless the parish and the cathe- 
dral were above reproach in this respect, they would lose all 
spiritual influence, and the actual control of the Church would 
pass to the obnoxious monks, who, despite occasional grievous 
lapses, paid something more than lip-service to the celibate idea. 
His first public appearance in Wales was as one of a com- 
mission of two appointed by Archbishop Richard to secure 
that throughout the diocese of St. David's the tithe of wool 
and of cheese should be paid, a custom to the contrary having 
taken root in the district. It was a task which well brought 
out the energy and courage of the young ecclesiastic, for 
though the Welsh, who were in those days careful tithe- 
payers,^*'^ fell in at once with the new proposal, there was stout 
resistance from the Flemish flockmasters of Rhos, Deugleddyf, 
Angle, and Laugharne, and it was only with the help of his 
relatives, Philip of Barry, Odo of Carew,^^" and William fitz 
Hay,^**^ that Giraldus succeeded in carrying through his task. 
Such zeal deserved promotion, and the Archdeaconry of Breck- 
nock offered itself as a natural reward. It had long been held 
by one Jordan,^**^ whose advanced age and possession of a wife 
afforded a double reason for depriving him ; with the consent 
of the archbishops^® Giraldus became, in 1175, archdeacon, 
with a residence at Llandduw, near Brecon,^^*' and the " golden 
prebend " of Mathry in Pebidiog."^ Other churches which he 
is known to have held are those of Llanwnda,"^ Angle,^^'* and* 

104 For the prevalence of a married clergy in Wales, see pp. 215-6. 

lo^Gir. Camb. vi. 203 (Descr. i. 18). 

"8 Son of William fitz Gerald. See note 28 above. 

1"' See chap. xiv. note 64. 

108 II Veteranum quendam archidiaconum terrae illius concubinam suam 
secum in domo publice tenentem " (De Rebus, i. 4 [i. 27]). Gir. does not name 
him, but "Jordano archidiacono " attests charters of Bishop Bernard {Carm. 
Cart. Nos. 26, 35), of Earl Roger of Hereford {Arch. Camb. III. xiv. [1883], 147) 
and of Henry of Hereford {ibid. 151, 152). From his name one would infer that 
he vv'as not a Welshman. 

109 Probably obtained at the time of the Council of Westminster (May, 1175), 
for Bishop David was present (Ben. Abb. i. 84). 

110 /fin. i. 2 (vi. 20), 3 (47). 

111 i. 32, 56 ; iii. 73, 227, 325 ; Jones and Freem. 314. 

112 iii. 73, 227. 113 i. 29. 11* iii. 352. 


CHAP. Two incidents are recorded which illustrate the vigour of 

these early ofiicial days. He proposed, in the exercise of his 
functions, to visit the Welsh districts of Elfael and Maelienydd, 
but was informed that they were by custom outside his juris- 
diction and only subject to the authority of their respective 
rural deans."^ It was idle to oppose local usage in this way to 
the will of a man who deemed it his special mission to reduce 
Wales to ecclesiastical order, and Giraldus paid no heed to the 
remonstrance. He was not even daunted when other arts 
were employed and he was threatened with the consequences 
of a " galanas " or blood feud alleged to exist between his 
family and certain magnates of the district. Taking up his 
quarters in Llanbister, the principal church of Maelienydd,^^*' 
he appealed for support to his kinsman, Cadwallon ap Mad- 
og,^^^ and was rewarded for his boldness by a complete victory. 
Cadwallon came at once to his aid, forced the clergy of Llan- 
bister to make amends for their discourtesy, and sent his son 
Hywel to escort the archdeacon during the rest of his tour. A 
little later he had to deal with a more formidable antagonist. 
At the Council of Westminster in May, 1 175, the clergy of St. 
Asaph had asked that their bishop, Godfrey, who had been 
non-resident for ten years, should be compelled either to return 
to his see, or to resign it.^^^ The king, in his new mood of 
friendliness towards the Welsh, not only obtained the resigna- 
tion of Godfrey, but appointed in his stead a distinguished 
Welshman, named Adam, a canon of Paris and a well-known 
teacher in the university of that city.^^^ No Welshman had 

11'' They were separate deaneries in 1291 (Tax. Nich. 274), and, no doubt, in 
1 175. It is possible that the division of the diocese of St. David's into four arch- 
deaconries was of Norman origin and that the system had not been fully accepted 
by the Welsh. The Archdeacons of Carmarthen and Brecon first appear about 
1120 (Arch. Camb. III. xiv. [1883], 49). For the dioceses of Bangor and St. 
Asaph see chap. xiii. note 25. 

^i^The "ecclesia partium de Melenith " (i. 31) can be no other. See page 

"' " Cui sanguine junctus fuerat." Probably his mother was first cousin to 
Cadwallon — see note 42 above. 

1^8 Ben. Abb. i. 90. For Godfrey's withdrawal from St. Asaph see chap, 
xiv. note 127. 

^18 He was known as Adam de Parvo Ponte. See Diet. Nat. Biog. i. pp. 75-6, 
H. and St. i. 387, and the Benedictine Histoire Litteraire de la France, ix. (1750), 
62, 64, 70, 73; xiv. (1817), 189-90. Hoveden (ii.78) calls him '* Adae Walensi''\ 
Gir. knew him well : " Parisius olim sociifuerant et conscolares " (i. 34). 


hitherto occupied this see, and it would seem that Adam hoped CHAP, 
his Welsh origin might be of service in pushing its interests. 
In particular, he hoped to establish its claim to include the 
lands between Wye and Severn as part of the ancient realm of 
PowySj^^*^ and, as a first step, he entered into relations with 
Cadwallon of Maelienydd with a view to the seizure of St. 
Michael's, the church of the commote of Kerry ,^^^ which was 
only separated by a low range of hills from the undisputed 
domain of St. Asaph in Southern Powys. The moment 
seemed especially favourable, inasmuch as Bishop David fitz 
Gerald had died in May, 1176,^22 ^nd St. David's had just then 
no official head. But this was to ignore the zeal of the new 
Archdeacon of Brecknock, within whose sphere of authority 
Kerry lay.^^^ Giraldus hurried to the spot, met the bishop 
face to face in the churchyard, threatened him, despite his high 
office, with excommunication, and remained master of the field. 
His promptitude and energy saved the church for the diocese 
of St. David's, to which, in spite of political changes severing 
it from Maelienydd,^24 jt remained attached until the middle 
of the nineteenth century.^^s 

Such a man might well seem to be marked out by destiny 
for the vacant bishopric. Birth, learning, and character alike 
appeared to qualify him for the post, and there was a general 
expectation in Dyfed that he would receive it. But at court 
different ideas prevailed. A little before the death of David, 
in March, 1 1 jG, the archdeacons and canons had formally 
revived, in the Council of Westminster, the long dormant 
question of the metropolitan rights of their Church.^^^ Their 
claim was one which Henry, with all his readiness to make 

12" See p. 252. 

121 " Ecclesiam S. Michaelis de Keri " (i. 33). The parish included Moch- 
dref (All Saints), which is not mentioned in Tax. Nich., and it was therefore co- 
extensive with the commote (Pen. MS. 147 in Evans, Rep. i. p. 915). Several of 
the old lists include Ceri in Maelienydd — see Bruts, 409 ; Cymr. ix. 328. 

122 u Quasi XV diebus ante Pentecosten [23rd May] " (i. 41). 

123 It was in the deanery of Maelienydd {Tax. Nich. 274). 

124 It was united to Cydewain and so became part of the lordship of the 
Mortimers and, ultimately, of the county of Montgomery. 

125 It was transferred to St. Asaph in 1849 (Thomas, St. Asaph, p. 310). At 
the Lateran Council of 1179 Adam gained a temporary victory over Bishop Peter, 
but the latter afterwards regained the church (i. 323). 

126 De Rebus, i. 8 (i. 40). The bishop held aloof, in view of the oath he had 
taken in 1148 (p. 482). 


CHAP, concessions to Wales, was not prepared for a moment to enter- 
^^" tain, and he had, therefore, no intention of promoting to the 
see a man who was certain to make it a burning question and 
who had already shown that he could fight to good purpose. 
Moreover, Giraldus belonged to that great Pembrokeshire clan 
whose Irish achievements had aroused his distrust ; whatever 
he might be willing to do for the Welsh, he had no wish to 
extend the power of the Normans of Dyfed. Thus the canons, 
who had tried to facilitate the election of the Archdeacon of 
Brecknock, were sharply brought to book, and at the Council 
of Winchester, held in August, 1 1 76, required to choose Peter 
of Lee, prior of the Cluniac cell of Wenlock.^^" The election 
took place in the royal presence, and on 7th November, Peter 
was consecrated at Canterbury, having made the usual pro- 
fession of canonical obedience to the representatives of Arch- 
bishop Richard.^2^ Thus ended the first struggle of Giraldus 
for the bishopric ol St. David's. His disappointment was great, 
but his youth — he was not thirty — and the hostility of the king 
had been greatly to his disadvantage ; on a future occasion he 
might hope to be more fortunate. 

During the next few years he led a somewhat restless 
existence, as though the defeat of his ambitions had left him 
with no clear purpose or vocation. For a time he went back 
to Paris, to take up once more the scholar's life ; ^^^ next, he 
returned to Wales and accepted the post of administrator of 
the diocese of St. David's for Bishop Peter, who found residence 
there uncongenial. As was inevitable, quarrels arose ; even had 
there been no question of animus against a successful rival, the 
fiery and implacable nature of Giraldus made him the worst 
possible intermediary between bishop and chapter, and accord- 
ingly he gave up the position in disgust and turned his eyes in 
other directions. In February, 1183, he went over to Ireland 
with his brother Philip,^^'^ but, greatly as the country engaged 

1-'^ De Rebus, i. 11 (i. 43-4). The place, " Wintoniam," suggests the time 
(Eyton, Itin. 205). Peter, who had a larger income as prior than as bishop (iii. 
344), had been put at the head of Wenlock, which was a cell of La Charity sur 
Loire, after 1170 (Eyton, Shrops. iii. p. 249). 

128 Diceto, i. 415 ; H. and St. i. 384-5 ; Reg. Sacr. (2), 49. B.T. gives the 
bishop his French name of " Pyrs " (Bruts, 334), i.e., Piers. 

12* He was there at the time of the Lateran Council (March, 1179) — see De 
Rebus, ii. 2 (i. 48). 

1^" Exp. Hib. ii. 20 (v. 351). This visit, which may have lasted a year 
(Dimock, pref. to Gir. vol. v. p. xlviii), is not mentioned in De Rebus. 


his interest, found there no opening to his mind. Not long ^^^^• 
afterwards he entered the royal service ; the king was on the 
Welsh border in treaty with the Lord Rhys and other Welsh 
princes,^^^ and, possibly on the recommendation of Bishop 
Baldwin of Worcester,^^^ chose the Archdeacon of Brecknock 
as a suitable agent for business of this kind. In this occupation 
Giraldus remained much longer than might have been expected ; 
he was for more than ten years a cleric of the court, engaged 
in various diplomatic and ceremonial missions, involved in a 
round of duties which kept him immersed in business to his 
heart's content, kept him, also, well to the front, and, at the same 
time, allowed him some leisure to cultivate his literary gifts. 
In 1 185 he was sent to Ireland with the king's youngest son, 
John, in consideration, no doubt, of the prominent position held 
by his kinsfolk in the island. After a year's stay there he re- 
turned to England and began the first of his important literary 
works, that astonishing compound of shrewd and careful ob- 
servation, miraculous fable and idle gossip which he called 
The Topography of Ireland" }^^ 

With the exception of his great struggle for St. David's in 
the reign of John, the best-known incident in the career of 
Giraldus is the mission which brought him to Wales in the 
spring of 1 1 88.^^* The capture of Jerusalem by the Saracens 
in 1 187 had rekindled throughout Europe the crusading spirit ; 
the kings of England and France took the cross, and their ex- 
ample was soon followed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. 
Baldwin,^^^ who had been translated to the primacy from Wor- 
cester in 1 1 84, resolved to spend the coming Lent in an effort 
to raise a body of crusaders from Wales, a country which pro- 
duced excellent foot-soldiers,^^® and was known for its devotion 

131 No date is given in De Rebus, ii. 8 (i. 57), but it is natural to connect 
this appearance " in Marchiae finibus ad Walliam pacificandam " with the 
negotiations carried on with Rhys in July, 1184, at Worcester (Ben. Abb. i. 314). 

i3> Giraldus was known to him and about this time visited him at his manor 
of Blockley (iv. 104). 

"3 The first edition was ready in March, 1188 {Itin. i. 2 [vi. 20]). 

134 Fully described in Itin. 

135 At Geddington on nth February. Ann. Cest, says it was at " Briexcoc," 
i.e., at Bristol, a little later. 

136 See note 39 above and the statement in Ben. Abb. i. 355-6 that at the 
end of 1186 Henry was anxious to have "servientes" from Wales for foreign 


CHAP, to religious causes. He chose as his companions Alexander, 
Archdeacon of Bangor, who interpreted in the Welsh-speaking 
districts,^ ^'^ and Giraldus, as a man familiar with the Norman 
lordships of South Wales. Baldwin had a second purpose 
in view, which he successfully accomplished ; he wished, by 
celebrating mass at the high altar of each of the four Welsh 
cathedrals, to give visible proof of his authority as metropolitan 
in every quarter of the country,^^^ The canons of St. David's 
saw clearly the danger ahead and tried to persuade the Lord 
Rhys to obstruct the archbishop's passage in the interests of 
the independence of their see.^^^ But Rhys had, it would seem, 
no particular zeal for their cause ; on the contrary, he smoothed 
the path of Baldwin in every possible way, met him with all 
respect and ceremony on his entry into South Wales, enter- 
tained him bountifully at his castle of Aberteifi and was all but 
persuaded to" take the cross.^*" What is stranger still is that 
Giraldus, whose whole life was dedicated, broadly speaking, to 
the cause of the independence of St. David's, on this occasion 
was coldly indifferent to it, and, as far as in him lay, was an 
accomplice of the archbishop in his assertion of the Canterbury 

The tour occupied about five weeks, beginning at Hereford 
in the early part of March ^'^^ and ending at Chester, in time 
for the celebration of Easter, on 14th April. Most of the time 
was spent in South Wales ; a leisurely progress was made 
through Radnor, Elfael, Brecknock, Gwent, Gwynllwg, Gla- 
morgan, Gower, Cydweli, and Dyfed. Four days were given to 
Ceredigion, and there then remained but a week for Gwynedd, 
which was rapidly traversed by way of Towyn, Nefyn, Bangor, 
Aberconwy, and Rhuddlan. Powys was left untouched, save 

1" Itin. i. 5 (vi. 55) ; ii. 7 (126). His native name was Cuhelyn and he had 
been a faithful follower of Archbishop Thomas in his exile. Like a true Welsh- 
man, he was of ready tongue and much given to jesting (Mat. Hist. Becket, iii. 
56, 528 ; Gir. Camb. vii. 68, viii. 83). 

'38 See, especially, Itin. ii. i (vi. 105) — " in singulis cathedralibus ecclesiis, 
tanquam investiturae cujusdam signum, missam celebravit ". 

139 Jtifi^ i. I (vi. 15-16). 

1*" At Radnor Rhys had resolved to join in the movement and he spent a 
fortnight in preparations. But he was then dissuaded from his purpose by his 
wife, Gwenllian, daiighter of Madog ap Maredudd (Itin. i. i [vi. 15]). 

141 '< Circa jejunii caput " (2nd March), says Gir. But the actual day must 
have been about a week later — see Stubbs, pref. to Epistolae Cantuarienses (Rolls 
Series, 1865), p. Ixiv. 


for a visit to its outskirts at Oswestry ; Bishop Reiner of St. CHAP. 
Asaph had already done some work in this district, and Owain ^^' 
Cyfeiliog, alone of all the princes of Wales, was hostile to the 
primate's mission. Nevertheless, in spite of the pressure of 
time and other difficulties, the immediate results of the tour 
were remarkable. Three thousand well-armed warriors, if 
Giraldus is to be believed, donned the cross,^^^ including 
Maelgwn ap Cadwallon of Maelienydd, Einion ab Einion Clud 
of Elfael, and a son of the Lord Rhys, named Maelgwn. 
Occasionally, the mission found itself in an unfriendly en- 
vironment, as for instance at Bangor, where Bishop Gwion ^*^ 
took the cross under coercion and not a single recruit could be 
won from the " teulu " of Rhodri. Yet, in the main, the preach- 
ing of the crusade aroused genuine enthusiasm, and there was 
substance in the remark of John Spang, court fool of the Lord 
Rhys, to his master, preserved, it is needless to say, by Giraldus 
himself, that, if the archdeacon had been able to preach in 
Welsh, not a man would have resisted the appeal and re- 
mained at home in his service.^** 

In the long run, however, the expedition bore little fruit. 
The quarrel between Henry and his sons delayed for many 
months the preparations for the Second Crusade, and when, on 
the death of his father, Richard took up the matter in earnest 
and set out for the East, the zeal of very many had grown 
cold, and, like Giraldus, they found excellent reasons for dis- 
regarding their vow. Even the diplomatic victory of Baldwin 
over the chapter of St. David's was of little avail to his suc- 
cessor, Hubert Walter, when fortune again made Giraldus the 

"2 Itin. ii. 13 (vi. 147). 

1*^ There is some doubt as to the real name of this bishop, which variously ap- 
pears as " gwiawn " {Bruts, 337), " Gwion," (B. Sues. s.a. 1191), " Guianus " (Gir. 
vj. 125), " Wiano " (i. 85), " Guido " (Diceto, i. 420), " Gwido " (Ben. Abb. i. 
165), " Guydo " (profession rolls — see H. and St. i. 385). The emphatic praise of 
B.T. (p. 236 ; Bruts, as above), his attitude in 1188, and the silence of the English 
chroniclers with regard to him after his appointment, all suggest, however, that 
he was a Welshman, and that Guido, or Guy, was a Latinised form of his Welsh 
name, which, in this case, was no doubt Gwion (see Rec. Cam. index, 317, for 
its occurrence in Gwynedd). The election of Gwion ended the long conflict be- 
tween the Bangor authorities and the crown as to the filling of this see; he was 
consecrated at Amesbury by Archbishop Richard, after the usual profession of 
obedience, on 22nd May, 1177 (Ben. Abb. i. 165-6 ; Reg. Sacr. (2), 49). 

!*•* De Rebus, ii. 19 (i. 77). The *' croesan " or jester was a familiar figure in 
Welsh courts {LL. i. 28, 30, 376, 650; ii. 760, 821, 899 ; Evans, Diet. s.v.). 


CHAP, protagonist in a conflict on behalf of the rights of the see. 
^^" The most lasting and valuable result of the tour was the book 
in which the archdeacon carefully recorded his impressions of 
it and which appeared in its earliest form in 1191.^*^ The 
Itinerary of Wales is of high value for the study of Welsh 
history at the end of the twelfth century ; accurate in its facts, 
genial in spirit and crowded with a wealth of gay and animated 
figures which move briskly across the scene, it pictures for us 
the Wales of Rhys ap GrufFydd, the native home of fierce but 
devout tribesmen, the adopted home of haughty knights and 
grasping clerics, with a vividness and force not easily to be 
matched. In the Description of Wales which followed the 
Itinerary in 1 1 94,^*'' there is a broader and more philo- 
sophical outlook, a completer survey, taken from the Olympian 
heights of a scholar's lofty seclusion, but in the earlier work 
Giraldus mingles in the crowd, catches its accents, is borne 
along by its changing passions, and thus becomes a very 
mirror of that fighting, chaffering, praying age. 

III. Wales in 1188; Climax of the Power of Rhys. 

The perambulation of Wales by Baldwin and Giraldus in 
II 88 affords the opportunity of a political survey of the 
country at this period, and it is especially convenient to be 
able to make such a survey in this year, the last but one of 
Henry's long reign, before the disturbance which was brought 
about by his death. It reveals a Wales very largely in Welsh 
hands, especially in the north, ruled over, indeed, for the most 
part, by a large number of chieftains of no great force or 
ability, but with one towering figure among them in the person 
of the Lord Rhys. 

In Gwynedd there had been no change since 1 1 75. Dafydd 
and Rhodri still held the bulk of the province, with the Conway 
as their boundary ; Gruffydd ap Cynan was lord of Meirionydd 
and Ardudwy, his younger brother Maredudd, of Eifionydd.^*'' 

"5 So Dimock in pref. to Gir. vi. pp. xxxiii-vi. A second edition was issued 
in 1 197 and a third after 1213. 

1*8 Dimock, as above, p. xxxix. The second edition appeared about the be- 
ginning of 1215 (pp. xli-ii). 

"^ Itin. ii. 5 (vi. 122-3). It is not quite clear which of the two brothers held 
Ardudwy, but if, as is likely, the " pontis cujusdam " of Gir. was at or near 
Aberglaslyn, the division was no doubt as above. 


The claim of the Lord Rhys to Meirionydd, though recognised CHAP, 
by the king at the Council of Oxford in 1 177, had been in the ^^' 
following year so hotly contested by the sons of Cynan^*^ 
that the attempt to make it good and to enlarge Deheubarth 
in a northerly direction had been abandoned. A young son 
of lorwerth ab Owain, named Llywelyn, had just attained his 
majority and was beginning to make himself troublesome to 
his uncles, but as yet he gave them no serious concern. 
Rhodri looked chiefly for support to the Lord Rhys, whose 
daughter he married ; ^^^ Dafydd relied on the English alliance, 
and, ruling from his castle of Rhuddlan districts but newly 
wrested from a long English domination, strove with all his 
might to keep the peace between the two races.^^** 

As the two missioners did not traverse Powys, the political 
divisions of this province are less clearly traced. But it is 
evident that Gruffydd ap Madog was still in power in Northern 
Powys and Owain Cyfeiliog in the south. A conquest of 
Maelor effected by Earl Hugh of Chester on 13th June, 1 177, 
with the aid of Dafydd,^^^ who was returning from the Council 
of Oxford, was not permanent, and thenceforward the right of 
the descendants of Madog ap Maredudd to bear rule in this 
district remained unchallenged. In 1 1 87, a little before the 
visit of Giraldus, a third prince of Powys, who had long ruled 
territories midway between those of Gruffydd and Owain, 
namely, Owain Fychan, had been removed by death ; he had 
perished at Gwern y Figyn, near his castle of Carreg Hofa,^^'^ in 
a treacherous night attack made upon him by Gwenwynwyn 
and Cadwallon, the sons of Owain Cyfeiliog.^ ^^ It was not, 

148 <i Y ulwydyn rac wyneb y ryfelawd meibon kynan yn erbyn yr arglwyd rys " 
{firuts, 335; B.T. 230; cf. B. Sues. s.a. 1178). 

1** Itin. ii. 7 (vi. 126-7). 

^^'^ Ibid. ii. 10 (137), 12 (145). 

ii'i Ann. Cest. s.a. 1177. Earl Hugh, who had been a principal rebel in 1173, 
had only just been restored to full possession of his lands (Ben. Abb. i. 135). He 
died on 30th June, 1181, and was succeeded by his son Ranulf (born 1170), who 
was knighted and married Constance, heiress of Brittany, early in 1188 or 1189 
(Ann. Cest.). It is difficult to accept the statement of Powel (212) that Hugh 
was born in Cyfeiliog and thence derived his surname ; in 1147 the commote was 
beyond a doubt in the hands of the Welsh. 

1^2 For Owain's possessions see p. 553. Carreg Hofa, a royal stronghold, 
had been taken by the Welsh in 1163. 

"3 B.T. 233; B. Sues. s.a. 1187 ; Gir. Camb. vi. 142-3 (Itin. ii. 12). "O 
Oes Gwrtheyrn " says (Bruts, 405) Owain was killed at " gwern y vinogyl ". 
VOL. II. 14 


CHAP, however, the southern, but the northern prince, his brother, 
who chiefly profited by his removal ; Gruffydd ap Madog 
appears in the following year as lord of the country west of 
Oswestry "* and Cynllaith would seem to have been vested 
permanently in his descendants, until it was lost by the most 
famous of them all, the heroic Owain Glyn Dwr. As a prince, 
Gruffydd (who died in 1191)^^^ was renowned for his profuse 
liberality j^^*^ he was also amenable to ecclesiastical influence, 
for Giraldus records with satisfaction that in 1 188 he was per- 
suaded by the archbishop to put away his wife, Angharad, 
who, as the daughter of Owain Gwynedd, his mother's brother, 
was his first cousin.^^' Two other sons of Madog ap Mare- 
dudd were still alive and possessed of some small share of 
their father's wide dominions ; Owain Brogyntyn was lord of 
Penllyn and Edeyrnion,^^^ and Elise ap Madog of lands in the 
same region.^^® In Arwystli, the house of Trahaearn ap Cara- 
dog had retained its ancient position, and the cantref was not 
yet absorbed in Powys ; on the death of Hywel ab leuaf in 
1185,^®° he was succeeded by his son Owain, known from one 
of the hamlets of Arwystli as " Owain o'r Brithdir "}^^ 

The pages of the Itinerary leave us in no doubt as to the 
continued ascendancy of Rhys ap Gruffydd in Deheubarth. 
He met the company as they entered South Wales at Radnor, 
thus asserting his authority over the lords of Elfael and 

^** Itin. ii. 12 (vi. 142). 

^**B.r., 236; B. Saes. s.a. The year is made certain by the mention of 
the notable eclipse of 23rd June. 

166 <i Yr haelaf o holl tywyssogyon kymry " {B.T.) ; " yr haylaf or kymre " 
{B. Saes.) ; distinguished for " largitas," says Gir. (vi. 145). 

^*'' The marriage of Madog ap Maredudd and Susanna, daughter of Gruffydd 
ap Cynan (for whom see Buck. Gr. ap C. . 118 [730]), is not directly attested by 
any ancient authority, but it is certainly made very probable by this allusion of 
Gir. (" consobrina sua . . . Oeni principis filia " — vi. 142). 

158 For Owain Brogyntyn see note 31 to chap. xiv. He is not mentioned in 
B.T. or B. Saes. or by Gir., but he is known to have given Gwernhefin and Llyn 
Tegid in Penllyn to Basingwerk Abbey, the latter during the episcopate of Reyner 
of St. Asaph (1186-1224). See Charter Rolls, ii. 290-1 ; Mow. Angl. v. 263. His 
descendants held Edeyrnion. 

159 The " Elisset " of Gir. vi. 142 (Itin. ii. 12). He succeeded Owain 
Brogyntyn in Penllyn; see Mon. Angl. v. 263 (" Helyso ") and B.T. 258 (year 

180 B.T, 233 ; B. Saes, s.a. For Hywel's ancestry see note 24 to chap, 
xiv. Cynddelw celebrates him as "tarw talgarth" {Myv. Arch. I. 254 [184]), 
referring, no doubt, to the place of that name near Trefeglwys. 

181 Brithdir is a township in the parish of Llanidloes (Carlisle, Top. Did.). 


Maelienydd. When they entered the territory under his direct CHAP, 
rule, he was waiting to receive them at Aberteifi, and he went * 

with them until at the passage of the Dovey they quitted his 
dominions. Ceredigion, Cantref Mawr, Cantref Bychan, Emlyn, 
with other regions in Dyfed, formed his principality, but his 
influence was felt far beyond this area. The lord of the can- 
tref of Cemais, William fitz Martin, a son or grandson of the 
founder of St. Dogmael's, notwithstanding his Norman lineage, 
had deemed it prudent to take a daughter of the great chief- 
tain to wife.^*'^ Elfael was ruled by Einion ab Einion Clud, 
also known as Einion o'r Forth, who had succeeded his father 
in 1 1 77 ^ri<i was also a son-in-law (or, it may be, a grandson) 
of the Lord Rhys.^*^^ A kinsman of Rhys ruled in Maelienydd, 
where in 1 179 Cadwallon ap Madog had been succeeded by his 
son Maelgwn. Cadwallon's death, it may be remarked, had 
been the occasion of somewhat unusual measures of vengeance 
taken by the crown. He had been killed by certain followers 
of Roger, the heir to the Mortimer estates, as he was returning 
from the king's presence under the protection of a royal safe- 
conduct, and accordingly the matter was treated as something 
far more serious than a mere local feud ; some of the offenders 
were put to death and others forced to seek refuge in the 
woods, while Roger himself was cast into prison. The incident 
showed that, where the king's honour was touched, Welshmen 
might hope for even-handed justice between them and the great 
ones of the march.^^^ 

The relentless border feuds, which centuries of reprisals 
had made incurable, were a great obstacle to the maintenance 
of peace between Rhys and the king, and constantly bade fair 
to engage them in a conflict which neither desired. The men 

'82 For Robert fitz Martin see pp. 425, 431. The pedigree of the family 
will be found in Owen, Pemh. i. p. 491, but there is some uncertainty as to the 
earlier links. Robert appears in hih. Land. 37 [1128], Pipe Roll, 31 Hen. I, 15 
[1130], B.T. 158 [1136], Geoff. Mand. 94 [1141J, and Cal. Doc. Fr. i. 290. 
William is not traceable, at least in Wales, before 1191; hence he may have 
been a grandson of Robert. 

IBS See notes 43 and 87 above. The death of Einion o'r Porth is recorded in 
B.T. s.a. 1191 ; he is clearly the same as the donor to Cwm Hir called Einion 
" de Porta " in Mon. Angl. v. 459. 

'"^ For this affair see B.T. and B. Saes. s.a. 1179; Diceto, i. 437; Pipe Roll, 
25 Hen. n. 39; Eyton, Shrops. iv. pp. 205-6. In Powel, 173, and Gwydir Fam. 
15, there is confusion between Cadwallon and Cadwaladr ap Gruffydd. 

14 * 


CHAP, of Gwent had never forgotten the massacre of 1 175, and, after 
seven years of waiting, found in 1 1 82 an opportunity of exacting 
a most ample vengeance. With the kinsfolk of the murdered 
Seisyll at their head they beset the castle of Abergavenny, the 
scene of the bloody deed ; lurking in the overgrown brushwood 
of the ditches, they outwearied the vigilance of the constable, 
broke into the castle at early dawn, and, having gained posses- 
sion of all save the keep, gave it to the flames.^"* Nor did 
this content them. A little later they found Ranulf Poer, 
sheriff of Herefordshire, who had borne a leading part in the 
ever memorable tragedy, assisting William of Briouze in the 
building of a fortress at Dingestow on the river Trothy. Their 
attack, delivered in this case also at dawn, proved irresistible ; 
Ranulf was slain, William with difficulty escaped capture, and, 
though the arrival of Ranulf Glanville, the ju.sticiar of the realm, 
with reinforcements restored the balance in favour of the 
English, the prestige and glory of the day remained with the 

Another element of difficulty in the relations between the 
southern leader and the crown was created by the growth of 
the sons of Rhys into manhood and independence. Of these 
at least five had attained to maturity in 1188, namely, 
Gruffydd, Maelgwn, Cynwrig, Hywel Sais, and Rhys. Three 
of them listened to the preaching of the crusade in Ceredigion, 
and the tall, lithe figure of the fair-haired Cynwrig, wearing 
loosely the light costume of the country, seemed to Giraldus 
the very embodiment of native dignity.^*^ It was hardly to 
be expected that these young men, full of energy and ambition, 
should quietly fall into the peaceful and cautious ways recom- 
mended by a ripe experience to their father. Accordingly, 
Rhys had laid upon him the burden of reconciling to the king, 
not only the borderers of Gwent and Morgannwg, but also his 
own restless offspring, and the task, in spite of goodwill on 
both sides, was one of no small difficulty. In July, 11 84, 
after two years' absence on the Continent, Henry was at 

^'"'Gir. Camb. vi, 50-1 {Jtin. i. 4). 

i6«Ben. Abb. i. 288-9; Gir. Camb. vi. 51-2 (Itin. i. 4); Eyton, Itin. 248, 
The site of the castle was still pointed out at the beginning of the nineteenth 
century — see Hoare, Itin. i. 90. 

I**'' Gir. Camb. vi. 119 {J.tin. ii, 4). 


Worcester and was there met by Rhys, who promised the CHAP, 
fullest amends for all the misdeeds of his underlings ; he would 
deliver one of his sons, he said, as a hostage for the future 
tranquillity of the marchland and would bring his turbulent 
kinsmen to the royal presence to make their peace.^^^ A little 
later he was again with the king at Gloucester, confessing his 
inability to carry out the terms agreed upon, as to which he 
had no doubt been overruled by the bolder counsels of the 
younger generation.^^^ 

Yet it is clear that Rhys retained the king's confidence to 
the end of the reign. Peace, rather than war, with Wales was 
still the royal policy, as it had been since 1 1 70, and in 1 1 86, 
when a struggle between England and France was believed to 
be impending, Henry took special pains to secure himself by 
negotiation against any outbreak of trouble on the Welsh 
border. Rhys was invited to Hereford to meet Archbishop 
Baldwin of Canterbury and Ranulf Glanville and was there 
treated as an honoured guest, whom it was important to gratify 
and win over.^^'' At dinner he was seated between his host, 
William de Vere, who had just been raised to the see of Here- 
ford, and another magnate of the realm, Walter fitz Robert of 
Dunmow, both connected with the great family of Clare.^^^ 
How easy and genial were the relations of those who thus sat 
at the episcopal board may be inferred from the fact that, when 
the talk turned upon Rhys's possession of what had once been 
the Clare lordship of Ceredigion, the Welsh prince, with fine 
courtesy, expressed his pleasure that he had lost his inheritance 
in those bygone days to no base or laggard clan, but to a 
family of rare fame and distinction, whereupon the bishop, not 
to be outdone in graceful compliment, signified that their loss 

1"^ Ben. Abb. i. 314 ; Eyton, Itin. 256. Ann. Cest. s.a. 1184 combines in 
one notice the events of 1182-4J its " vice comitem Wigorniae " must be meant 
for Ranulf Poer. 

189 Ben. Abb. i. 317. 

i''" Ben. Abb. (i. 355-6) describes the business of the envoys ; the account 
of the dmner is from Gir. Camb. (i. 57-8 [De Rebus, ii. 9]), who was present. 
It may be remarked that Brewer's marginal date, 1184, is impossible, since 
William did not become bishop of Hereford until the summer of 11 86. 

171 Walter fitz Robert was a grandson of Richard fitz Gilbert, the first 
Norman lord of Clare (Feudal England, p. 475). Bishop William was either the 
son or the grandson of Aubrey de Vere (d. 1141) and his wife Adeliza, daughter 
of Gilbert fitz Richard (Geoff. Mand, 390-2). 


CHAP, of those Welsh possessions had been made in turn almost 

acceptable to them by the thought of the noble and valiant 

prince who now enjoyed them. There was an element of 
business in these courtesies, for the king desired, not only the 
friendship and goodwill of Rhys, but also a supply of infantry 
from Wales for the French war which he expected shortly to 
be waging.^^2 

It remains to speak briefly of the marcher lords who 
wielded authority in 1 1 88. The earldom of Chester was held 
by the young Ranulf, who had succeeded his father, Earl 
Hugh, in 1 1 8 1 ; ^'^^ his marriage to Constance, widow of the 
king's son Geoffrey, added greatly to his importance, but as a 
French rather than an English potentate, and thus strengthened 
the growing tendency of this house to find the satisfaction of 
their ambition elsewhere than on the Welsh border. Mold 
was still held by the barons of Montalt, hereditary stewards of 
the Earls of Chester.^'^* Ellesmere was in the hands of Dafydd 
ab Owain,^'^^ whose position thus made him an intermediary 
between the English and the Welsh. At Oswestry, the 
William fitz Alan of the days of Stephen had been followed 
by a second baron of that name, who also inherited from his 
mother, Isabella of Sai, the lordship of Clun.^^" Montgomery 
was not yet a royal fortress, but remained a fief of the house 
of Boilers, established there since the reign of Henry I.^''^'^ 
Roger Mortimer, first of the many lords of Wigmore who bore 
that famous name, was supreme on the borders of Maelienydd. 
Brecknock, Builth, Radnor, and Upper Gwent formed the 
ample domain of William of Briouze or, as we may now style 
him with the English chroniclers, William de Breos. The' 
events which placed William in this exalted position and made 
him the leading personage in South Wales on the English side 
at the close of the twelfth century have already been nar- 
rated ; ^^^ it suffices to add that he was a typical Norman 

1" In the summer of ii88 Glanville obtained a large force of Welsh mer- 
cenaries for Henry, who took part in the operations against Philip Augustus and 
returned in October (Ben. Abb. ii. 40, 46, 50). 

1" Earl Hugh died on 30th June, 1181 (Ann. Cest.). Ben. Abb. i. 277, agrees 
as to the year and Mon. Angl. iii. 218 as to the day. Ranulf was born in 1170 
{Ann. Cest.). 

I''* Ormerod's History of Cheshire, ed. Helsby, i. p. 58, "« See p. 553. 

"6 Eyton, Shrops, xi. 229. "7 /j^^, xj. 120-7. ^" Pp- 547-8. 


baron, as scrupulous in his attention to the forms of religion CHAP, 
as he was ruthless and grasping in his dealings with his fellow- ^^" 
men. The author of the massacre of Abergavenny would not 
pass a church or a wayside cross without stopping in his 
talk to offer up a prayer, and he would speak to children in 
the street for the mere satisfaction of hearing them answer his 
greetings with the conventional words of blessing. ■^'^^ 

The two great lordships of the southern coast were at this 
time in the custody of the crown, having both passed to heir- 
esses who had not yet been provided with husbands. Earl 
Richard of Pembroke and Striguil, the conqueror of Leinster, 
had closed an adventurous career at Dublin in the summer of 
1 1 ']6, leaving his great possessions in England, Wales, Ireland, 
and Normandy to an infant daughter of three. ^^"^ It was not 
until July, 1189, that Richard I., in fulfilment of a promise 
made by his father, bestowed the hand of Isabella upon that 
pattern of loyal knighthood, William Marshall, a famous crus- 
ader and a companion of Henry's last hours, so that thus there 
came to be once more an Earl of Pembroke and lord of Nether 
Went.^^^ In like manner the lordship of Glamorgan and 
Gwynllwg was vested in a woman. The only son of Earl 
William of Gloucester had died in 1166;^^^ three daughters 
were left to him, but from about 1 1 76 it seems to have been 
understood that the youngest, Avice or Hawise, was to carry 
the inheritance by marriage to the king's son John.^^^ The 
earl died in 1 183 ; ^^* nevertheless the marriage had not taken 
place when Henry died six years later, and meanwhile Glamor- 
gan had been administered by officials of the crown. It was 
no easy task which fell upon their shoulders ; in 1 185 they had 
to cope with a great Welsh rising, in the course of which the 
towns of Cardiff and Kenfig were burnt and the castle of Neath 
was so closely beset that it was necessary to send a force of 
knights by sea to its relief ^^^ The royal accounts further show 

i™ Gir. Camb. vi. 23 {Itin. i. 2). 

18° Ben. Abb. i. 125 ; Diceto, i. 407 ; R. de Torigni, 270 ; Gir. Camb. v. 
332-4 {.Exp. Hib. ii. 14) ; Ann. Camb. MSS. B. and C. ; Ann. Uli. s.a. 1176. 

181 Ben. Abb. ii. 73. For William's career see Diet. Nat.Biog. xxxvi. p. 225. 

'^^^ Ann. Mar g. See p. 508 above. is^ pjceto, i. 415. 

^^*Ann. Marg., Ann. Theokesb., R. de Torigni (308). When the latter 
closed his chronicle, the future of Hawise was still uncertain ; he says that the 
king " cui voluerit dabit earn ". 

i85y4M«. Marg., illustrated by Pipe Roll, 31 Hen. I. (1184-5), as cited in 
Cartae Glam., i. 27-31. 


CHAP, that much money was expended in the maintenance of the 
fabric and the garrison of the castles of Newport, Rhymni, 
and Newcastle.^®** It is not apparent who led the insurgents, 
but Morgan ap Caradog ab lestyn, who was lord of Rhwng 
Nedd ac Afan in ii88,^^^ was most probably a prime mover 
in the affair, if one may judge from the critical position to 
which the castle of Neath was reduced. Hywel ab lorwerth, 
now lord of Caerleon, gave his support to the English,i^^ in 
pursuance of a policy of moderation which he seems to have 
consistently followed since the Council of Gloucester. i^® 

It will thus appear, on a broad survey of the situation, 
that the Lord Rhys was at the close of this reign in a position 
of assured pre-eminence. His friendship with the king secured 
him from any attack on the part of the English government, 
and there was no marcher lord who could injure him, save per- 
haps William de Breos. Little wonder, then, that he en- 
couraged his warriors to volunteer for the holy war in the East, 
and even seriously contemplated going on crusade himself.i®*' 
At the age of fifty-six, with grown-up sons able to defend the 
liberties of Deheubarth, he might well suppose that he had 
completed his full tale of domestic warfare, and might now 
dedicate his battle- worn sword to the service of the Most High. 
Fate willed it otherwise ; his wife dissuaded him from his 
pious intention, and his long life ended in a red and fiery sun- 
down, in the midst of renewed civil conflicts and of struggles 
against the English such as those which had so busily em- 
ployed his youth and early manhood. 

^^^ Cartae Glam. ut supra. 

18^ Gir. Camb. vi. 72 (Itin. i. 8). For the family see p. 440. Besides Mor- 
gan, Caradog left three other sons, Maredudd, Owain, and Cadwallon, of whom 
Owain was killed by Cadwallon some time before 1183 and Cadwallon was struck 
down soon afterwards at the siege of a castle (Gir. Camb. vi. 69 [Itin. i. 7]). 

1*8 He appears in the Pipe Roll {Cartae Glam. i. 29) as one of six who dur- 
ing 1 1 84-5 kept the castles of Glamorgan and Gwynllwg for the king. 

189 Gir. Camb. (vi. 145 [Itin. ii. 12]) couples him with Dafydd ab Owain as 
having won the confidence and respect of both nations by a judicious impartiality 
of attitude. 

ifo See note 140 above. 



I. Old and New Leaders. 

The death of Henry H.^ marks an epoch in the relations chap. 
between England and Wales as surely as that of Henry I. In ^^^* 
1 1 89, as in 1 135, the removal of the strong hand led at once 
to disturbances across the border, and the want of effective 
control over Wales was almost as marked under Richard I. as 
under Stephen. It is true that the second Henry had main- 
tained the peace rather by skilful diplomacy than by naked 
force, and that his son was not without real strength of character, 
so that the parallel is far from complete. But Richard's devo- 
tion to the crusade and to other interests remote from his duties 
as an English king had the same practical effect as the nerve- 
less and vacillating rule of Stephen ; Wales was again involved 
in turmoil and strife, war against the foreigner leading up to 
civil discord, as the various popular leaders jostled each other 
in the endeavour to prove themselves appointed of God to the 
headship of the Welsh race. The first in the field was, 
naturally, the Lord Rhys, who had been unquestioned leader 
for twenty years, and who now, like a seasoned war horse, 
smelling the battle afar off, boldly threw himself into the 
struggle. It was, however, only for a short time ; death at 
last claimed his due from the hoary warrior, and the bitter feuds 
of his sons soon deprived Deheubarth of the predominant 
position it had enjoyed under his sagacious rule. Powys, under 
the young Gwenwynwyn, and Gwynedd, under the still younger 
Llywelyn ab lorwerth, were the real rivals for supremacy, and 
the contest between them, ending in a complete victory for 
Llywelyn, is the salient feature of the new Wales ushered in by 
the thirteenth century. 

1 6th July. 


CHAP. Tumult always marked the interval between the lapse of 


' royal authority through the death of a king and its revival 
when the heir was properly invested by coronation with the 
royal power, and among the measures taken by Richard and 
his advisers in July, 1 1 89, to tide over this difficult period was 
the despatch of a special envoy to Wales, where trouble was 
particularly to be feared. At the suggestion of Archbishop 
Baldwin, Giraldus Cambrensis, who was then with the court in 
Normandy, was sent across the Channel to use his influence as 
peacemaker along the border.^ When he arrived, after adven- 
tures which included the threatened loss of his way-money, his 
official papers, and — most important of all (he tells us) — his one 
copy of the as yet unpublished Itinerary^ war had already 
broken out. The Lord Rhys had shown that he recognised 
no obligation to the new ruler by a great raid upon the foreign 
colonies in South Wales, Rhos, Penfro, Gower, and Carnwyllion 
were overrun ; the castles of Laugharne and Llanstephan were 
taken in the first wild onslaught, their garrisons offering no 
resistance, though the inexperience of the Welsh in castle-guard 
led to the loss of both fortresses later on ; and the royal 
stronghold of Carmarthen was closely besieged.* If we may 
believe Giraldus, he did something to calm the storm which 
had arisen,^ but he was not able to exercise much control over 
Rhys, who maintained his attitude of hostility. When Richard 
landed in England in the middle of August, he had some 
thoughts of marching immediately into Wales to chastise the 
audacious folk who thus boldly challenged his authority, but 
he was persuaded that the matter did not call for his personal 
intervention, and that Welsh affairs might well stand over until 

"^ Gir. Camb. i. 80-4 (T>e Rebus, ii. 21). 

3 " Tabulas grandes Itinerarium suum et laborem annuum nusquam adhuc 
alibi scriptum continentes " (p. 82). 

* Ann. C, MS. B. s.a. 1189, Gir. Camb. vi. 80 lltin. i. 10]. " Abercorran " 
is the ancient name of the town at the mouth of the river Corran now known as 
Laugharne ; " Talacharn " is properly the commote in which it stands, Laugharne 
being a shortened form of " Castell Talacharn " — cf. Builth, Kidwelly, Cardi- 
gan (Owen, Pemb. i. 46, 206 ; Gir. Camb. vi. 172, 239; Carlisle, Top. Diet. s.v. 
Llacharn). Gir. treats the devastation of Rhos on this occasion as a judgment 
upon the inhabitants for their refusal to pay tithes of their wool (i. 24 [De Rebus, 

i. 3]). 

' " Patriam prae morte regis valde turbatam plurimum adventu et interventu 
sue pacificavit " (p. 84). 


after the coronation.^ The presence of Bishop Gwion of Bangor CHAP, 
and Bishop Reiner of St. Asaph at this ceremony/ which was 
held on 3rd September, may be taken to show that Rhodri and 
Dafydd did not join in the revolt. As soon as the crowning 
had been accomplished, the new king sent his brother John to 
the West with an army capable of dealing with the rising, but 
the expedition led to no great change in the situation. Not- 
withstanding that John, by his marriage to Hawise of Gloucester 
on 29th August, had become lord of Glamorgan,^ with a con- 
siderable stake in the Welsh border, he was more concerned to 
establish his position in England, in view of the early departure 
of his brother for the East, and his policy, therefore, was to 
make peace as speedily as might be and return to the centre 
of affairs. The minor princes met him at Worcester and made 
their submission ; ^ he induced Rhys to abandon the siege of 
Carmarthen and accompany him to Oxford to meet the king, 
but it was in no suppliant mood, for the Welsh leader no sooner 
found that it was not Richard's intention to make a special 
journey west for the purpose of receiving his homage than he 
resolved upon an immediate return to Wales.^^ Thus the king 
and Rhys were still unreconciled when in December the former 
set out for the Holy Land. 

A chronicler who tells of the indignant withdrawal of Rhys 
assigns as the reason the departure from the custom of the 
previous reign. Richard would not come to meet him, " as 
the king his father had been wont to do ".^^ A new era had 
in fact set in, as was shown by the conduct of both sides. The 
English government was at no pains to conciliate ; the Welsh 
put themselves under no restraint. As soon as Richard had 
quitted England, the Lord Rhys entered upon a prolonged 
campaign against the Norman castles of South Wales, in which 

^ Gervase, i. 457 ; ii. 86. 

' " Episcopo de Asfath in Wallia, episcopo de Pangor in Wallia " (Ben. Abb. 
ii. 79). 

8 Ben. Abb. ii. 78. 

8 Ihid. 87-8. It was, no doubt, at this time that the Welsh princes made the 
promise, recorded by Richard of Devizes (ed. Stevenson, 1838, pp. 8-9), not to 
attack England while the king was on crusade. 

1" Ben. Abb. ii. 97. Ann. C. MS. B. lays stress on the fact that the peace 
between Rhys and John was " privata ". 

" " Sicut rex pater suus solebat " is added by Hoveden (iii. 23) to the narra- 
tive of Ben. Abb. 


CHAP, he was remarkably successful. Before the end of the year he 
was master of the castle of St. Clear's, which he gave with the 
surrounding district to his son, Hywel Sais.^^ j^ hqq he 
strengthened his hold upon the region of Cydweli, which he had 
already taken from its Norman lord, William of London, by 
rebuilding the ruined fortress which was its centre.^^ Next 
year he attacked Nanhyfer, the principal castle of Cemais, 
which was held by his son-in-law, William fitz Martin, and, 
having captured it, made it over to his son Gruffydd.^* In 1 192 
the special object of attack was Llawhaden, the residence of 
Bishop Peter of St. David's ; it was taken by Gruffydd, and 
the way was thus thrown open for further incursions into 
Deugleddyf A long siege was laid to the castle of Swansea ; 
the fall of this fortress was almost brought about by famine, 
and would have given to the Welsh the whole commote of 
Gower, but discord arose among the sons of Rhys, and, after 
the loss of a number of his men by drowning, he retired from 
the enterprise. Nevertheless, the good fortune of his house did 
not desert him, and in 1193 yet another castle fell into Welsh 
hands. Hywel Sais surprised Wiston and with it its lord, Philip 
fitz Wizo,^^ with his family, thus adding Deugleddyf to the 
regions conquered from the foreigner. So rapidly and unex- 
pectedly had the Welsh policy of general aggression borne 
fruit that the victors were now beginning to be embarrassed by 
their success ; they had taken more castles than they could 
defend, and, as a measure of precaution, Hywel and Maelgwn 
destroyed Llawhaden, exposing themselves to a counter-attack 
within the broken defences in which their men severely suffered. 
While thus successful against the foe, the house of Deheu- 

" Ann. C. MS. B. St. Clear's is mentioned in the Itinerary (i. 10) as a castle 
held in ii88 by enemies of the Welsh. Its archers killed a young Welshman 
who was hastening to the archbishop to take the cross. 

^^ B.T. 236; B. Saes. s.a. iigo. For William's father Maurice see pp. 
430, 470. William had succeeded to the lordships of Ogmore and Kidwelly about 
1160; see his "carta" in Lib. Nig. i. 113, showing that in 1166 he held one 
knight's fee in Wiltshire. 

^*Ann. C. MS. B. s.a. 1191 ; B.T. 236. Ann. C. MS. C. has " Kemer " 
by mistake, and the " dyneinir " of B. Saes. s.a. 1191 represents the " de newer " 
of the Latin original. Gir. Camb. vi. 111-12 {Itin. ii. 2) accuses Rhys of breaking 
solemn oaths in thus attacking William. 

^^ For the family see p. 425. Philip son of " Wiz " and his son Henry gave 
lands in " Dungledi," i.e., Deugleddyf, to the commandery of Slebech (Fenton 
(2), 347). 


barth was far from being a united and harmonious whole. It CHAP, 
was divided against itself in flagrant hate and hostility. Two ^^^* 
parties appear to have arisen among the sons of the Lord 
Rhys, due, perhaps, to the inferiority of certain of their number 
in birth and privilege. Gruffydd was evidently designed to 
be his father's heir ; already in 1 1 89 he was married to Matilda, 
daughter of William de Breos,^*' and upon the death of Rhys 
his claim to Dinefwr and the headship of Deheubarth was con- 
ceded. With him usually acted Rhys, distinguished from his 
father as " Rhys Fychan " (the Less), or, more commonly, " Rhys 
Gryg" (the Hoarsey^ Maelgwn, on the other hand, was 
Gruffydd's bitter enemy,^^ and, as he was a man of courage 
and enterprise, having distinguished himself as early as 1187 
by a successful raid upon Tenby ,^^ the jealousy and enmity of 
the two perturbed the whole of South Wales. The struggle 
was partly one between the craft and cunning of the established 
royal favourite^" and the boldness and dash of the popular 
hero ; it was also in some measure a reflection of local feeling, 
for Maelgwn's home and the chief source of his support was 
Ceredigion,^^ while Gruffydd was strong in Ystrad Tywi. With 
the darling of the West, who, it may be observed in passing, 
was very far from being a Saul in stature,^^ went Hywel Sais, 
concerned chiefly in the affairs of Dyfed ; the tall and hand- 
some Cynwrig, singled out as a young man by Giraldus Cam- 

^8 See Ann. C. MS. B. s.a. 1189 — " Willelmoque de breusa socero suo ". 
Matilda died in 1210 (B.T. 266). 

1^ Rhys is knowTi to have been the son of Gwenllian of Powys — see Jesus 
Coll. MS. 20 in Cymr. viii. 88 (No. 27). For his epithets see the poem ofPrydydd 
y Moch in Myv. Arch. I. 293 (207). 

" Rys uychan y gal want — ys geu ! 
Rys uawr ualch yg calch yg cadeu ! 
Rys gryc y galwant golofyn peu — 
Nyd Rys gryc yn kynnyc kameu ! " 

'8 " Hominique sub sole quern magis exosum habebat, Mailgoni scilicet fratri 
suo," says Gir. Camb. (vi. 112 [I tin. ii. 2]). 

is^.r. 234; B. Sues. s.a. 1187. 

2" Gir. calls Gruffydd " viri versipellis et versuti " (vi. iii). It was, perhaps, 
an instance of his adroit manoeuvring that, while professing great anxiety to join 
the crusade (so I understand " altercantibus de crucis susceptione fratribus "), he 
contrived that the impetuous Maelgwn should actually go with the archbishop (vi. 
119, 122). 

21 One may thus explain the fervid adulation of the author of B.T. (pp. 234 

22" Kyt bei kymhedrawl y ueint " (Bruts, 336 ; B.T. 234). 


CHAP, brensis for special admiration,^^ played no part in the political 
strife of his day and carried his goodly presence to the grave 
without having in any way disturbed the tenor of his long life 
of dignified inaction."* 

The contest began in 1 1 89, when the Lord Rhys was per- 
suaded to imprison Maelgwn, who had withdrawn from his 
crusading vow of the previous year, as a dangerous adventurer. 
The influences at work are readily discerned ; it was Rhys 
Gryg who had made the suggestion and Maelgwn was sent to 
Dinefwr, where he was in the power of his rival Gruffydd. 
Fearful lest his father should relent the harsh treatment he 
had meted out to a not ignoble son, Gruffydd secured himself 
still further by handing the prisoner over to William de Breos, 
who was not likely to set a Welsh chief at liberty save for a 
substantial consideration. The captivity lasted until 1192, 
when the Lord Rhys succeeded in getting Maelgwn away from 
his prison in Brycheiniog ; '-^^ the released prisoner joined in the 
siege of Swansea in that year, but, as may be supposed, the ill- 
feeling between him and Gruffydd was acute, and it has already 
been noticed as an important factor in the failure of the opera- 
tions. In 1 1 93 Maelgwn and Hywel Sais were working to- 
gether in the defence of Welsh interests in Deugleddyf, but 
the year did not close without an act of civil war ; on Christmas 
night the household troops of Maelgwn attacked with catapults 
and took by assault the castle of Ystrad Meurig, belonging 
either to the Lord Rhys or to one of his sons. The climax of 
this family bickering came in 1 194, when, in a conflict between 
Hywel and Maelgwn and their father, the latter was defeated 
and captured, to find a prison in that castle of Nanhyfer, now 
held by Maelgwn, of which three years previously Rhys had 
deprived William fitz Martin. 2^ 

Meanwhile, the English government was in no position to 
intervene. During the absence of Richard on crusade and his 
subsequent imprisonment in Germany,^'' John was making as 

23 P. 568. 

24 He died in 1237 {Ann. C. MS. B.; B.T. 326). 

25The"wadawc uab rys" of Bruts, 337 (B.T. 236) is an error of the Red 
Book text. 

2fi The account in Ann. C. and the Bruts is supplemented by Gir. Camb. vi. 
112 {I tin. ii. 2). 

27 Richard was out of England from nth December, 1189, to 13th March, 


difficult as possible the task of those who wielded the royal CHAP, 
authority at home, and the two parties thus formed were much ^^^" 
more anxious to use the Welsh for their own interests than to 
repress and subdue them. It was, no doubt, made a charge 
against Roger Mortimer in 1191 that he was in league with 
the Welsh against the crown, but this was a mere party ac- 
cusation, put forward by the justiciar, William Longchamp, to 
justify his banishment of this powerful marcher baron and his 
seizure of Wigmore and other castles.^* When John, a little 
later in the year, was preparing to bring thousands of his 
Welsh tenants to a conference at Winchester, as a protection 
against possible treachery, the justiciar had no. scruple in hiring 
other Welshmen at the royal cost, so that in case of an en- 
counter hillman might meet hillman and the battle be fought 
on something like equal terms.^" Under his successor, the 
Archbishop of Rouen, the situation was hardly different ; John 
had Welshmen at his back in the movement of 1193-4,^° and 
the business which at this time often took Giraldus to Wales, 
as he tells us, in the service of the queen-mother and the 
justiciar was clearly to conciliate Rhys and prevent his throw- 
ing his weight into the scale in favour of the opposite party. ^^ 
When Richard was at last released by the emperor and 
appeared once more in England, it might have been expected 
that vigorous measures would have been taken by him to deal 
with the situation in Wales. But there is no evidence that it 
gave him any concern. He spent a couple of months in the 
island, was solemnly re-crowned, and then passed to the Con- 
tinent, where he spent the remaining five years of his reign. ^^ 
The greater energy which was undoubtedly shown by the 
English in their dealings with Wales during this period is to 
be attributed, not to him, but to the new justiciar. Hubert 
Walter succeeded to this office at the end of 1193, and, being 
already Archbishop of Canterbury, was able to exercise the 
powers both of church and state, in the king's absence, with 
decisive authority. He had been trained in business by 

^^ Richard of Devizes, p. 30. ^^ Ihid. p. 32. 

'^^ Ann, Waverl. s.a. 1193; Gervase, i. 515. 

^^Sym. El. i. ep. xxviii. (i. 295). Gir. does not specify his errand, but it laid 
him open to the charge of being too friendly with his Welsh relatives (p. 296). 
3* He sailed from Portsmouth on 12th May. 


CHAP. Ranulf Glanville, and it was, therefore, a maxim for him that 

the Welsh must be kept under vigilant observation and con- 
trol. Though he did not intervene in person in Wales until 
1 1 96, his influence may, perhaps, be traced in the bolder front 
shown by the foreigners in 1195, which made it a year of 
reaction and disaster for the men of Deheubarth. Roger 
Mortimer, returned from his exile, attacked Maelienydd and 
rebuilt the castle of Cymaron. On Whit Sunday a Flemish 
army recaptured Wiston and thus restored Deugleddyf to its 
former owners. Finally, William de Breos, now high in the 
confidence of the government and employed as sheriff and as 
travelling justice,^^ stormed St. Clear's and captured within it 
a large number of the most trusty followers of Hywel Sais. 
So alarmed was Hywel at these reverses that he destroyed the 
fortifications of Nanhyfer, lest this castle also should slip from 
his hands and the enemy thus be enabled to reconquer Cemais. 
It cannot be doubted that the continuance of domestic 
strife, no less than the greater vigour on the English side, was 
responsible for the arrest of the flowing current of Welsh suc- 
cess. The Lord Rhys had not long remained a prisoner in 
Nanhyfer ; Hywel Sais, with a keener sense of filial duty than 
his brother, had released him in despite of Maelgwn. But in 
1 195 the old man had to face another conspiracy of the same 
type. Rhys Gryg, with a younger brother Maredudd, who 
was just emerging from boyhood,^* entered into a secret 
understanding with the men of Cantref Mawr and Cantref 
Bychan and thereby obtained possession of Dinefwr and 
Llanymddyfri. This plain intimation that he was regarded as 
an extinct force, playing an idle part on a stage where he had 
outstayed his welcome, following as it did upon the ignominy 
of imprisonment, would seem to have spurred the Lord Rhys 
to one last effort, in which he showed all the fiery enthusiasm 

33 He was sheriff of Herefordshire from 1192 to 1199 and a justice itinerant 
in Staffordshire in 1196 {Diet. Nat. Biog. vi. p. 229). 

^* He was still " inclitus adolescens " {Ann. C. MS. B.) and " gwas ieuanc " 
{B.T. 256) when he died in 1201. Two other sons of the Lord Rhys bore this 
name, viz., Maredudd Ddall (the Blind), blinded by Henry H. in 1165, who 
became a monk of Whitland and died there in 1239 {B.T. 326), and Maredudd, 
Archdeacon of Cardigan {B.T. 316), who died in 1227. The indices of Bruts 
and B. T. do not properly distinguish the chieftain, the Cistercian monk, and the 
secular cleric. 


and reckless daring of his prime. The flame which had been CHAP, 
burning low, flickering and visibly sinking into the grey dulness 
of ashes, suddenly blazed forth in one blinding sheet of light, 
ere it vanished for ever in the dying embers. By the exercise 
of stratagem, he laid hold of the two conspirators and im- 
prisoned them in Ystrad Meurig Castle,^^ in a land where, it 
may be presumed, they had no following. Then, in the ensuing 
year, he unfurled his banner as of yore for a great campaign 
against the English, which would show that his eye was not 
dim nor his natural force abated. First, he attacked Carmar- 
then, the centre of royal power in South Wales, and burnt the 
whole town to the ground, leaving only the castle standing. 
Next, he gathered around him a great host from all parts of 
the South, and, crossing the highlands of Builth, appeared be- 
fore the castle of Colwyn, the principal fortress of Upper Elfael, 
a district which had been seized by William de Breos. It was 
taken and burnt — a triumph which emboldened Rhys to at- 
tempt still greater achievements. Pouring across the heights 
of Radnor Forest, his exultant army fell upon the border 
stronghold of Radnor itself, held by the house of Breos since 
the days of William Rufus. Its lord was at this time in the 
opposite quarter of South Wales, but two of his neighbours, 
Roger Mortimer of Wigmore and Hugh de Say of Richard's 
Castle,^" brought their men into the field in its defence. They 
were utterly defeated by the victorious Rhys ; forty of their 
knights and a multitude of foot-soldiers were cut down by the 
Welsh, and, after setting fire to the town, the invading host 
turned aside to a new field of activity, the castle lately erected 
by William de Breos in Lower Elfael. Here Rhys was no 
less successful than before ; his catapults and siege engines 
forced the garrison to surrender, and Painscastle would have 
been razed to the foundations had not William at this juncture 
ofl"ered terms which the Welsh leader thought it prudent to 
accept. Their nature is not known, but they were no doubt 

35 1 follow B. Sues, in connecting the imprisonment, and not the capture, 
with Ystrad Meurig. 

36 " Hu dysai " {Bruts, 338) ; " Hvgyn o Say " {B. Saes. s.a. 1196). Osbern 
fitz Richard (for whom see p. 395) had been succeeded by his son Hugh and his 
grandson Osbert (Feudal England, pp. 176, 179; Lib. Nig. i. 217), but shortly 
before 1189 Richard's Castle came into the possession of " Hugo de Say" (Pipe 
Roll, I Rd. I. 143). 

VOL. II. 15 


CHAP, connected with the counter-operations of William in Dyfed, in 
■ the course of which a good part of the town of Aberteifi had 
been destroyed. 

Rhys had now fought his last fight, for on 28th April, 
1 1 97,^^ he died. At the age of sixty-five ^^ his work as a 
warrior was done, and the stirring deeds of his last heroic effort 
at leadership were not likely to be repeated. His name will 
live in Welsh history as that of the greatest of the princes of 
Deheubarth, whose long and persistent struggle against the 
Anglo-Norman power was the chief means of keeping alive in 
South Wales the idea of Welsh nationality and independence. 
In the North, the Welsh principalities had now attained such 
a position that the continuance of Welsh institutions and 
traditions seemed fairly well assured ; in the South, they 
maintained themselves with difficulty against large and power- 
ful foreign colonies. Rhys was throughout his life the centre 
and rallying-point of the southern national resistance ; while 
never the mere barbarian, bent on sheer destruction, insensible 
to the claims of an advancing civilisation, he was always the 
firm and immovable patriot. He was buried in St. David's 
cathedral ; ^^ owing to a quarrel with Bishop Peter, he was at 
the time of his death under excommunication, but this difficulty 
was overcome by the infliction of penitential discipline upon 
the unheeding corpse,*^ and Rhys at last rested worthily in the 
historic fane which was for him, as for his fathers, the holiest 
in all Wales. 

The removal of Rhys, who had so long dominated Welsh 
life, was the opportunity of the princes of the younger genera- 
tion who aspired to leadership, and it was for some years an 
open question which quarter of Wales would furnish his suc- 
cessor as head and champion of the Welsh race. Neither 
Gwynedd nor Deheubarth, as it chanced, supplied the first 

3MnM. C. MSS. B. and C, B. Saes. and MS. C. of B.T. (p. 244) all give 
the day as iv Kal, Maii, whence Powel's " fourth daie of Maie " (181). 

^8 He was born about 1132 (chap. xiii. note 53). 

'•^^Ann. C. MSS. B. and C. ; cf. B.T. s.a. 1233 (p. 322— burial of Rhys 
Gryg). The tomb and effigy ascribed to him by tradition (Fenton (2), 45 ; 
Hoare, Itin. ii. 25) are of the fourteenth century (Jones and Freem. 113-5). For 
elegiac verse composed in his honour see Ann. C. 61 ; B.T. 246-8 ; Fenton (2), 


^'The story is tpld in Ann, Wint. s.a. 1197. 


candidate for the position, but that region of Southern Powys CHAP, 
hitherto remarkable for the strictly local and provincial temper 
of its patriotism. The cool, sagacious Owain Cyfeiliog, almost 
always in prudent alliance with the English, was succeeded 
by the fiery and headstrong leader of revolt, Gwenwynwyn. 
Owain would seem to have thrown off the cares of rule about 
1 195 and to have retired to the monastic peace of Ystrad 
Marchell — a Cistercian abbey of his own foundation — where he 
died and was buried in 1197.^^ The accession of Gwenwyn- 
wyn to power was immediately followed by attacks upon the 
English border, which were so formidable as in September, 
1 196, to bring the justiciar. Archbishop Hubert, upon the 
scene,*^ A considerable army laid siege to Gwenwynwyn's 
castle of Trallwng, known to the English as Pool,*^ and, after 
vain efforts to scale the walls, obtained an entrance by under- 
mining them. With a clemency which was unusual on the 
border, the justiciar allowed the garrison to depart with the 
honours of war. But he lost nothing by his humanity, for be- 
fore the end of the year Gwenwynwyn had recovered posses- 
sion of his castle, and it was now his turn to show mag- 
nanimity and allow the foe to retire unscathed in battle array. 
Having proved his ability to hold his own against the 
English, Gwenwynwyn next undertook the extension of his 
borders. It is remarkable that from the first he harboured no 
designs against his kinsmen in Northern Powys, but ever 
looked southward, his ambition being to reclaim for Powys her 
old predominance in Central Wales. On the death of Gruffydd 
Maelor in 1 191, he had been succeeded by his sons, Madog 
and Owain ; ** the death of the latter in 1 1 97 vested the whole 

*i The Register of Aberconwy printed in vol. i. (1847) of the Camden Mis- 
cellany cites his epitaph and says he was buried near the high altar (p. 7). 

*2 Gervase (i. 543) and Ann. Cest. {s.a. 1196) confirm the account of the 
Bruts. The " Henri " of the Welsh accounts is probably due to a perfunctory 
extension of an original " H ". 

^^ For the early history of the place see pp. 248, 421. The assumption very 
generally made since the time of Camden, that the site of the early castle of 
Trallwng is marked by the present Powis Castle, appears to be without founda- 
tion. " Y Castell Coch," as the Welsh style it, is not in either of the old town- 
ships of Pool (Pool town and Welsh town), but in that of Trallwm Gollen. 

*■* Owain held Maelor Saesneg ; see Mon. Angl, v. 325, for his grant (as 
"Owynus filius Griffini de Bromfeld ") to Combermere Abbey in 1195 of tithes 
accruing from his lordship of " Overtone et Bumfeld ". This district, which in 
1086 was reckoned a part of Cheshire (see " Beddesfeld " and " Hurdingberie " in 

15 * 


CHAP, of Northern Powys in Madog, who thereby became ruler of 
^^^' Welsh and English Maelor, lal, Nanheudwy and Cynllaith.*^ 
It was thus that the twofold division of the province into 
Powys Fadog and Powys Wenwynwyn came about, the 
Rhaeadr and the Tanat forming the boundary,'*® and this divi- 
sion the southern prince, restless and enterprising as he was, 
made no attempt to disturb. He chose rather to attack 
Arwystli, which had for ages been within Powys, but not of it, 
ruled by a separate dynasty and a different ecclesiastical 
authority. Here his opportunity seems to have been afforded 
by the death in 1197 of the native chieftain, Owain o'r Brith- 
dir ; ^"^ he attached the cantref to his own dominions and thus 
brought its political isolation to an end, though it remained 
for centuries a part of the diocese of Bangor. In the same 
year, he found means to intervene, to his own profit, in the 
affairs of Deheubarth, which had been thrown into great con- 
fusion by the death of the Lord Rhys. After an interview 
with Archbishop Hubert on the borders, Gruffydd, the desig- 
nated heir, had been recognised as his father's successor,*^ but 
had at once been confronted by the ever jealous Maelgwn, who 
had latterly been in banishment, but now appeared in Cere- 
digion to claim a share of the inheritance. Gwenwynwyn sup- 
plied the exile with troops and he was thus enabled to take the 
town and castle of Aberystwyth ; what was even more gratifying 
to Maelgwn was that Gruffydd himself fell into his hands, whom 
with all haste he made over to his friend and patron in ac- 
knowledgment of his obligations. The prince of Powys had 

Domesd. i. 264a, 2) was held in 1138 by William Peverel (who fortified " Obre- 
tonam " — Ord. Vit. xiii. 37) and under Henry H. by Roger and Jonas of Fowls. 

'•'' In a Valle Crucis charter of 1202, printed in Arch. Camb. III. xii. (1866), 
414, Madog grants " omnem pasturam tocius terre mee scilicet Malaur Saisnec 
et provincie de Maylaur et Yayl et Nanhendu et Kenylleid ". 

*^ In all the lists of commotes Mochnant above Rhaeadr is separated from 
Mochnant below Rhaeadr, and the one appears in Powys Wenwynwyn, the other 
in Powys Fadog. The division of 1166 (see p. 520) must, therefore, have been 
permanent. It is perhaps hardly necessary to say that the common account of 
Powys Fadog as owing its name to Madog ap Maredudd (Powel, 153 ; Penn. i. 
277) is a quite impossible one. The elder Madog had the whole of the province, 
and the two names clearly could not have arisen before 1195. 

" B. Sues, is right in reading " Owein or brithtir vab Howel ap leuaf " ; cf. 
B.T. 250, notes a and 3, and the notice of the death of Hywel in 1185 {B.T. 


48 The "curiam regis adivit" o{ Ann. C. MS. B. is to be interpreted in the 
light of Hoveden, iv. 21 (" Hubertus . . . fines Gwalliae adiit "). 



not only a dangerous neighbour and rival in his possession ; chap 
he had a pawn which he could use in negotiations with the 
government, and the result was that ere long Gwenwynwyn 
received the border castle of Carreg Hofa from the English/^ 
while Gruffydd found a prison in Corfe.^*^ 

By these early successes the prince of Powys was led to 
dream of still greater conquests. He aspired, the Chronicle 
of the Princes tells us, " to restore to the Welsh their ancient 
and due rights, possessions, and boundaries ".^^ He entered 
upon a scheme of reconquest from the barons of the march. 
During the preceding ten years matters had, on the whole, 
gone badly with the Welsh in the region between Wye and 
Severn. In Maelienydd the seizure of the castle of Cymaron 
had deprived the sons of Cadwallon, Maelgwn, and Hywel, of 
a substantial part of their inheritance,^^ and the death of Mael- 
gwn in 1 197 was a further blow to Welsh power in this dis- 
tricts^ In Elfael the way had been opened for the invader by 
the death of Einion o'r Forth in 1191;^* William de Breos 
had thereupon taken possession of the cantref, in the two com- 
motes of which he built two castles, one in the valley of the 
Colwyn for Upper Elfael, and another, styled by the Welsh 
Castell Paen, or " Payn's Castle," in the valley of the Machawy 
for Lower Elfael. ^^ The latter was known to the English as 
" Castrum Matildis " or Castle Maud, no doubt because it had 

4»'« Regi pro Carrec Huwa dedit " (Ann. C. MS. B.). The castle was in 
Welsh hands in 1187 — see p. 565. 

^^ Ann. Wint. s.a. 1198. 

51 " Talu y hen deilygdawt yr kymry ae hen briodolder ae teruyneu " {Bruts, 
341 ; B.T, 252). From this point on the evidence of B. Saes. is no longer 
available, owing to the loss of the latter portion of the MS., Cleopatra B. v. Fo. 
162a is the last which is quite legible ; 1626 is filled to the last line, but was for 
so long a time an outside page that it is now most difficult to read. 

■>^Ann. Camb. s.a. 1195; B.T. 240 ; B. Saes. s.a. 1195. There had been 
an earlier Mortimer conquest of Cymaron in 1144, and in 1181 it apparently 
came into the king's hands on the death of Roger's father Hugh (Eyton, Shrops. 
iv. p. 206). For the sons of Cadwallon see Gir. Camb. i. 32 {De Rebus, i. 5). 

53 B.T. 250 ; B. Saes. s.a. 1197. 

•''••He was slain by his brother (B.T., 236; B. Saes. s.a. 1191), and the 
allusion of Gir. Camb. (vi. 19) in the later editions of the Itinerary (i. i) to ter- 
rible crimes committed " in his inter Waiam et Sabrinam . . . finibus his nostris 
diebus " by kinsfolk jealous of each other's power may be taken to show that the 
incident was one of a series. The culprit was possibly Gwallter ab Einion Clud, 
who appears in 12 15. 

5" The two commotes are known to this day as the hundreds of Colwyn and 


CHAP, been stoutly defended against a Welsh attack in 1195 by- 
Maud of St. Valery, the Amazonian wife of its builder and 
lord.*^ Now, although the Lord Rhys had destroyed the 
castle of Colwyn in his great raid of 1 1 96, Painscastle had 
been restored by him intact to its master and still enabled 
William to link together his lands at Radnor and Brecon. 
Gwenwynwyn singled it out as the most dangerous to the 
Welsh of the late encroachments upon their liberty, and in 
July, 1 1 98, beset it with a great army, in which were very 
many of the men of Gwynedd, willing allies in this patriotic 
enterprise.^^ The gravity of the crisis was recognised by the 
English government, and Gruffydd ap Rhys was released from 
captivity and sent to the border to treat with his fellow- 
countrymen. But his mediation was of no avail, and Geoffrey 
fitz Peter, who had newly succeeded Archbishop Hubert as 
justiciar,^^ saw that nothing could save Painscastle and Elfael 
for the English but a victory in the open field. On 13th 
August ^^ he attacked the Welsh host, which was marshalled 
in three divisions, one of infantry, one of cavalry, and one 
mixed, and at the first onset scattered it in flight. Many thou- 
sands of Gwenwynwyn's followers were slain, while the English 
boasted that they had scarcely lost a man. A decisive triumph 
was won for English ascendancy in Mid Wales, and the Prince 
of Powys saw the prize for which he had fought, the leadership 

'^^ Ann. Wigorn. Camden (Britannia, 568) identified " Matildis castrum " 
with " Colewent," i.e., Colwyn, but a careful collation of the English and Welsh 
authorities for the events of 1198 and 1231 will make it clear that Painscastle is 
really the fortress intended. Breconshire tradition preserved a lively image of 
" Moll Walbee," who was believed to have built Hay Castle in a single night 
(Breconsh. (2), p. 57), while a legend was current among the Welsh which gave 
" Mallt Walljri " the part of Gessler in a doublet of the story of Tell and the 
apple (Pen, MS. 131 in Evans, Rep. i. p. 819). 

5Mmm. Camb. MS. B, ; B.T. 252; Ann. Cest. s.a. 1198 (for "Paui," 
which misled the editor, read "Pain"); Hoveden, iv. 53; Gervase, i. 572 ; 
Diceto, ii. 163 ; Gir. Camb. i. 91, 95 (De Rebus, iii. 2, 4). In the first of his two 
references, Gir. has antedated the battle. 

^•^ Gervase makes the archbishop leader on this occasion. But the king had 
already on nth July transferred the justiciarship to Geoffrey (Rymer, i. 71), who 
accordingly appears as the general in Hoveden, and this agrees vvath the state- 
ment of Gir. Camb. (iii. 25) that Hubert heard the news of the victory at Bridge- 
north (castrum Brugense). 

^3 "Die festo sancti martyris Ypoliti" (Diceto). Ann. Cest. has " ije idus 
[i2th] Augusti ". Either date fits in with the statement of MSS. C. E. of B.T. 
that the siege began about 22nd July (" ar ael gwyl Vair Vadlen ") and lasted 
three weeks. 


of the Welsh people, pass beyond redemption from his grasp. CHAP. 
It was reserved for the hands of the more wary and cautious 
Llywelyn of Gwynedd. 

II. The Rise of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth. 

The only son of Iorwerth Drwyndwn, lord of Nant Conwy,^*^ 
was born in the early part of 1173.^^ His mother was Mar- 
garet, daughter of Madog ap Maredudd,^^ and there is good 
reason for thinking that his father died while he was but an 
infant, and that he was taken for safety from his first home at 
Dolwyddelan "^ or its neighbourhood to his mother's land of 
Powys, where, as he grew from childhood into youth, he learnt 
that he had rights of inheritance of which he was being de- 
frauded. In later years, when he had triumphed over all his 
rivals, his success was regarded by some as a Divine vindication 
of legitimacy, as expounded by the Church,®* for Iorwerth was 
not the offspring of that marriage with Christina which the 
Church had so persistently condemned,*^ but of an earlier union 
with Gwladus, daughter of Llywarch ap Trahaearn of Arwystli.'* 
It is not to be supposed, however, that considerations of this 
kind weighed much with the Welsh, whose ordinary law of 
inheritance took no count of the status of the mother of an 
heir,®'^ and the young Llywelyn owed the lofty position which he 
attained to no other cause than his own fortitude and courage, 
which made light of difficulties that might have been for ever 
the prison of a less heroic soul. 

6° See p. 550. 

^* " Or pan vu varw owein [November, 1170], yny anet llywelyn vab Ior- 
werth dwy vlyned a banner. Or pan anet llywelyn yny las owein vab Madawc 
ar ymlad gwern y vinogyl [1187 — see p. 565 J : pedeir blyned ardec " (O Oes Gwr- 
theyrn in Bruts, 405). 

82 "Llewelyn. M. marereda. Merch madawc. M.maredud," says Jesus Coll. 
MS. 20 {Cymr. viii. 88), and this is confirmed by Prydydd y Moch, who calls 
Llywelyn not only " wyr ywein," but also " wyr madawc " (Myv. Arch. I. 301 
[213]). In view of this evidence, the suggestion of Eyton (Shrops. vi. p. 160), 
founded upon Mon. Angl. vi, 497, that Llywelyn's mother was of the Corbet 
family, can hardly stand ; it may be that on her widowhood she married a Corbet 
and that it was thus Llywelyn came to call William Corbet " avunculi mei ". 

83 That he was born tliere (Penn. ii. 303) is merely a conjecture (" it is 
thought credible," says Sir John Wynne in Gwydir Fam. 15). 

8* Gir. Camb. vi. 134 {Itin. ii. 8), in a passage added to the Itinerary about 
1197. Yet it would appear that Iorwerth had, like his father and his brother-in- 
law, Gruffydd Maelor (see p. 566), married his first cousin. 

*■* See p. 522. "8 Powel, 165. ^7 see p. 286. 


CHAP. The young prince had no sooner reached his majority at 

the age of fourteen than he began, probably with the aid of 
his mother's kinsfolk, to assert his claim to a share of Gwynedd. 
When Giraldus was passing through North Wales in 1 1 88, he 
had already begun to harass his uncles, David and Rhodri, who 
between them held most of their father's realm.*® The steps by 
which he rose to the height of his ambition and made himself 
chief ruler of Gwynedd are not easy to trace, but it is clear 
that in 1 1 94 he took a long stride towards his goal. For some 
years previously there had been quarrels between Rhodri and 
his southern neighbours, the sons of Cynan. About 1 190 the 
latter had driven Rhodri out of Anglesey,*^ whereupon he had 
sought the help of Reginald, king of Man, marrying his 
daughter as a pledge of alliance, and in 1193 he had with the 
aid of a Manx contingent expelled his rivals and again possessed 
himself of Aberffraw."" Thus passed the " Gaelic Summer," 
so called, no doubt, because of the influx of Gaelic-speaking 
allies from Man into Gwynedd ; ^^ before the year was out their 
work had been undone, and the sons of Cynan had again ejected 
Rhodri. It is in the following year that Llywelyn first appears 
on the stage of history. What is certain is that he had the 
friendly aid of Gruffydd and Maredudd ap Cynan, and that 
together they defeated David in a fiercely contested battle 
fought at the mouth of the Conway. ^^ The poets are loud in 

88 Gir. ut supra. " Puer tunc duodennis " overstates the case ; Llywelyn 
was fifteen. The " quasi" of the third edition shows that the author became 
aware that he had been too positive. 

8® Soon after 1188 (" in brevi postmodum "), says Gir. Camb. (vi. 126-7 [IHn. 
"• 7])» but not in 1193, as Dymock suggests in his note, for the passage is found 
in the first edition, issued in 1191. 

■"* " Drwy nerth gwrthrych urenhin manaw," says B.T. 238 (Bruts, 337), 
but B. Sues. {s.a. 1193) has more correctly " meibion Godrich ". Godred of Man 
died in 1187, leaving a lawful son, Olaf, under age, and a natural son, Reginald, 
who at once assumed power and ruled the island at this period. For Rhodri's 
marriage, see p. 617. 

^1 " O Oes Gwrtheyrn " assigns " haf y gwydyl " {Bruts, 405) to a year which 
is clearly 1193, For the explanation cf. Comment. (2), 156-7 (Moses Williams). 

■'^ The authorities for this revolution in Gwynedd are Gir. Camb. vi. 134 
(added to Itin. ii. 8 in the second edition, i.e. in 1197) ; B.T. 240 ; B. Sues, 
s.a. 1 194 ; Ann. C. MS. B. ; and the following poems— Cynddelw to Llywelyn 
(Myv. Arch. I. 262-3 [189]), Prydydd y Moch to Llywelyn (ibid. 297-300 [210-2]) 
and to Rhodri {ibid. 284 [202]). Gir. draws no distinction between the fate of 
Rhodri and that of David, while the Bruts place Rhodri among the victorious 
allies. The poets do not furnish a clear solution of the problem, for, in one poem 


their praise of the valour of Llywelyn on this day. " Many CHAP, 
were the foes of my lord," sings Cynddelw, " but there fell of 
them in the fight seven times the number of the stars." Pry- 
dydd y Moch marks his early appearance in the warrior's garb 
— " at ten," he says with poetical exaggeration, " he was the 
bold darling of fortune — the terrible Llywelyn ". What is ob- 
scure is the part played by Rhodri in the upheaval of this year ; 
did he return from exile to join in the general movement 
against David or was he David's ally and involved in the ruin 
which befell his brother? After the victory of Aberconwy, 
Llywelyn won fresh triumphs at the passage of the Menai at 
Porthaethwy, where, says his poet with bated breath. 
Over the sounding surge we rode our steeds as they swam, 

and again at Coedaneu, in the heart of Anglesey, but there is 
no clear indication of the foes whom he fought, and the story 
of his achievements, romantic as it certainly was, can only be 
told, therefore, in the barest outline. 

Whether victory or defeat was his portion, Rhodri did not 
long survive it, for he died in 1195.'''^ The political situation 
in Gwynedd during the ensuing five years is tolerably clear. 
Gruffydd, the elder of the two sons of Cynan, bore rule in 
Anglesey, Arfon, Arllechwedd and Lleyn, and thus excluded 
Llywelyn for the time being from the older Gwynedd and the 
ancestral seat of power at Aberffraw.'^* The younger brother, 
Maredudd, no doubt received Meirionydd and lands to the 
north as his share of the spoils of victory. Lly welyn's portion 
was east of the Conway, where David had formerly held sway ; 
he had as neighbours his kinsmen the princes of Northern 
Powys. David had not at first been entirely dispossessed ; 
three castles, no doubt on the English border, had been left to 
him, to enable him to play, though with sadly diminished state, 
the part of a prince. '^^ In 11 97, however, he was captured by 

Prydydd y Moch speaks of " plygu rodri rwyd esgar ymon," while in another he 
seems to leave Rhodri victor, even after the battle of Aberconwy. " O Oes 
Gwrtheyrn " confirms the mention by the poets of a battle of " Coettaneu " 
{Bruts, 406 — cf, " Coytdanew " in Rec. Cam. 57) and assigns it to 1194. 

^3 Ann. C. s.a. and Bruts, 406. He is said to have been buried at Holyhead 
{Gwydir Fam. 19). 

''^ Prydydd y Moch calls him " vt mwynbell mon," " rwyf kemeis," and 
"rwy dygannwy " {Myv. Arch. I. 288-9 [204-5]). He died in 1200, and was 
buried at Aberconwy {B.T. 254). 

'"' See B.T. and B. Sues. Gir. also says that something was left to David 
(vi. 134). 


CHAP. Llywelyn/^ and the rest of his days he spent in England, 
living with his wife, the royal Emma, and their son Owain in 
the manors of Ellesmere and Halesowen they had received 
from Henry H." 

Llywelyn was now fairly started upon his long and triumph- 
ant career. His first intervention in the border warfare 
between English and Welsh was unhappy ; he sent a large 
number of his men to the assistance of Gwenwynwyn in the 
campaign of 1198 and very many of them fell at Painscastle/^ 
But when he took action on his own account, there was a 
different tale to tell ; on 6th January, 11 99, he captured the 
castle of Mold,^^ which protected Hawarden and Chester from 
the onslaughts of the Welsh and was the seat of the seneschal 
of the earldom, Robert of Montalt.^" The achievement re- 
called the glories of Owain Gwynedd,®^ and promised a speedy 
return of the days when Gwynedd took the foremost place in 
Wales. Llywelyn had still much to do to win for himself the 
proud position of his grandfather, but his power began to be 
felt from that winter day when, as Cynddelw rapturously sang, 
" Alun ran red " with the blood of the foes of the " terror and 
torment of England ".^^ 

HI. The Monastic Revival. 

(The early history of the Cistercians in England is told by Miss Cooke in 
the Eng. Hist. Rev. vol. viii. (1893), pp. 625-76. I have also made use of 
Janauschek, Origines Cistercienses , torn, i (Vienna, 1877), Dugdale's Monasticon 
(new ed.), Birch's History of Margam Abbey, and Clark's collection of Glamorgan- 
shire charters.) 

While the process of the years was thus altering the political 
aspect of Wales.i making the older heroic names but a memory 

^^ The Red Book text has an " a " before " dauyd ab owein gwyned " (Bruts, 
341) which is not in B. Saes. or in MS. C. {B.T. 250, note i) and gives a 
different and much less likely meaning to the passage. The justiciar came to 
the Welsh frontier in January, 1198, and arranged for Dafydd's release — see note 
in Feet of Fines, 9 Rd. I. (Pipe Roll Society's vol. 23), p. 79. 

" See pp. 551, 553. 

78 «' Precipue homines Lewelini interempti sunt" (Ann. Cest. s.a. 1198). 

"^^ Ann. Cest. s.a. 1198 (read "by" instead of "from" in the translation) 
and " O Oes Gwrtheyrn " in Bruts, 406. 

8" For Robert see Helsby's edition of Ormerod's History of Cheshire, i. p. 

81 See p. 492. Owain had, no doubt, given up Mold in 1157. 

84 <« Pryder Lloegr ai cythrudd . . . Alun rac hil run bu rudd " (Myv. Arch. I. 
263 [189]). 


and bringing new protagonists upon the stage, a change had chap. 
also, silent and scarce perceived, come over the face of Welsh 
religion. The monastery was restored to its ancient place in 
Welsh religious life. In a former chapter ^^ it was shown how 
the Norman conquest of South Wales was accompanied by the 
foundation of new monastic houses, Benedictine, Tironian, and 
Augustinian. But these houses were, without exception, 
founded by the invading race and added to the strength of the 
alien element in the land ; castle and priory went closely 
together in a partnership not easily sundered. Some of the 
cells were small and merely served to collect from the neigh- 
bourhood dues which were sent to a rich abbey in England 
or in France.^* Towards the end of the twelfth century all 
this came to be changed, and the principal agency at work 
was the influence of the monastic order of Citeaux. 

Wales was not without monastic traditions ; its monasteries 
had, indeed, been at one time famous, nor were the vestiges 
of that day entirely extinct. The ordinary " clas," or mother 
church, had, no doubt, lost much of its monastic character, but 
in such communities as those of Priestholm and Beddgelert 
the ideals of celibacy and retirement from the world were in a 
measure retained.^* Asceticism was, however, represented for 
the ordinary Welshman of those days rather by the hermit or 
anchorite than by the monk. One may gather from the story 
of Caradog of Rhos how great the reverence with which this 
type of religious devotee was still regarded.^'' Caradog, a noble 
youth of Brycheiniog, well trained in many arts and, among 
them, in the playing of the harp, was a favourite courtier of 
Rhys ap Tewdwr.^^ But he was unlucky enough to lose two 
of his master's most valuable dogs ^^ and the anger of Rhys 

83 p. 430 et seq. 

^* The Cluniac priory of St. Clear's, a cell of St. Martin des Champs in Paris, 
had in 1279 but two monks, who had shaken off all monastic obligations, and 
Gir. Camb. (i. 324) speaks of a time when there was but one. See Mon. Angl. 
vi. 1056 ; Visitations, Sir G. Duckett (1890), p. 26 ; Tax. Nich. 277. 

*"* See p. 216. 

88 The life of Caradog was written by Gir, Camb. (i. 416 — cf. 395), of whose 
work, now lost, the account in Capgrave's Nova Legenda Angliae (ed. Horstman, 
Oxford, 1901, pp. 174-6) and Acta Sanctorum, 13th April, ii. 151, is probably a 

87" Resi Soutwallie principis." 

88 Caradog was perhaps " pencynydd " (chief huntsman). The " leporarii," 
as royal «' milgwn," were worth los, each {LL. i. 498), f .#., as much as a horse. 


CHAP, drove him in disgust from the court, to seek admission into 
■^^^' the clerical order at the hands of Bishop Herwald of Llandaff. 
From the first Caradog set the solitary life before him as his 
goal and he soon passed from Llandaff to the neglected shrine 
of St. Cenydd in Gower, which, when he had cleared it of bush 
and bramble, became his first oratory. ^^ His next residence 
was at St. David's, where he was ordained priest ; ever bent on 
seclusion, he withdrew ere long to the peninsula of Barry, on 
the coast of Pebidiog,^" until the persistent attacks of the sea- 
rovers forced him to retire to a more sheltered home. About 
1 105 he settled in Rhos, probably at Haroldston, near Haver- 
fordwest,®^ and here spent the remainder of his days. The 
Flemings, sent to this district as colonists by Henry I., tried to 
dislodge him, but in vain ; he suffered much from the hostility 
also of Tancard, the castellan of Haverford,®^ but held his 
ground until his death on 13th April, 1124.^^ The learning 
of Caradog Fynach was renowned throughout Wales,®* and 
so great was the repute of his sanctity that Tancard, for all 
his enmity, would not sufifer the good man's corpse to be taken 
for burial to St. David's, lest relics of such virtue should be lost 
to the neighbourhood, and portents were needed to induce him 
to relax his hold. Caradog was finally buried in the north 
transept of the cathedral,®^ and seventy years later, when 

*3 C/. Lib. Land. 279, where it is said that Bishop Herwald (1056-1104) 
" in lann Cinith . . . ordinauit . . . caratocum uirum sanctum et religiosum in 
monachum ". For the priory afterwards established here see p. 432. 

*" " Insula nomine Ary " is thus explained in Owen, Pemb. i. 114. 

*iBoth Capgrave and Gir. Camb. vi. 85-6 (Itin. i. 11) describe the place of 
Caradog's sojourn as " Sanctum Hysmaelum in Rosensi provincia ". But St. 
Ishmael's at the mouth of Milford Haven, though favoured by Phillimore (Owen, 
Pemb. i. 307), is too far from Haverfordwest to suit the story told of the young 
Richard fitz Tancard by Giraldus, whereas Haroldston East is close to the town, 
is dedicated to St. Ismael (Rees, W. SS. p. 252), and could until recently show 
" Caradog's Well," around which was held an annual fair (Hoare, Itin. i. 198 ; 
Lit. Eng. p. 139). 

^'^ The life confuses Tancard with his son Richard, but Gir. shows us that 
Tancard (for whom see p. 425) survived the saint and that Richard was then 
but a boy. 

93 " o Oes Gwrtheyrn " so far concurs (Bruts, 405) as to place the death of 
" caradawc vynach " eight years before that of Cadwallon ap Gruffydd and 
Maredudd ap Bleddyn (in 1132). 

"^See the account in Lib. Land. 2-5 of a visit paid by him about 1115 to 
the hermit Elgar of Bardsey. 

^^ Jones and Freem. (106-7) think the grave can be identified. 


Giraldus Cambrensis wished to press upon the pope the claim CHAP, 
to canonisation of a denizen of Dyfed, he could think of no 
worthier name to put forward than that of the hermit of Rhos.^® 
Such, then, was the type of holiness which appealed to 
the religious instinct of Welshmen at the end of the reign of 
Henry I. — a solitary warfare with the evil one, drawing no 
support from a common monastic life.'''^ Nor was there any 
great change in this respect during the next thirty years, 
although the forces were slowly gathering which were to 
reconvert the Welsh to a belief in monasticism. The houses 
founded in the reign of Stephen, even those which were the 
result of the new Cistercian movement, were in their origin of 
the familiar alien type, foreign communities planted on the 
soil by the strong hand of the conqueror, and only Welsh in 
the source from which they drew their revenues. In 1141 
Maurice of London, lord of Ogmore and Kidwelly, gave to 
St. Peter's, Gloucester, certain churches near the river Ewenny, 
with the result that the priory of that name was founded as 
a cell of the great western abbey. ^^ A noble church was built 
on the spot, which still stands in its massive Norman strength, 
but the house was always small and overshadowed by its 
greater neighbours. ^^ On i6th September, 11 40, a community 
was formed which furnished Wales with its first Cistercian 
monastery.^^** An offshoot of the great abbey of Clairvaux, 
where St. Bernard was then at the zenith of his fame, its early 
history is obscure, but it is known that in 1 144 it found a 
temporary home at Little Trefgarn, near Haverfordwest, where 
Bishop Bernard settled it on land belonging to the see of St. 

"^Gir. Camb. iii. 63-4 {Invect. iii. 6, 7), 182-3 (^«g'^' Sac. ii. 547). 

^''Nowhere, says Gir. (vi. 204 [Descr. i. 18]), will you find hermits and 
anchorites of greater austerity and spirituality than in Wales. 

8" Cart. Glouc. i. 75-6 ; cf. ii. 14-15, 135-6. The date is supported by an 
added passage in Ann. Marg. — see the facsimile in Margam Abb. p. 277. No 
account need be taken of Leland's statement that the jfounder was " Syr Jo : 
Loudres " {Wales, pp. 50-1), or of that of Gw. Brut, that the year was iiii. 
The priory was sometimes known as that of Ogmore (Vggemore), from the lord- 
ship in which it stood ; hence it is confused with Wigmore in the index to Cart. 

"8 Gir. calls it "cellulam de Ewennith " (vi. 67 [Itin. i. 7]). For the church 
see Hoare, Itin. i. 147-51, and Arch. Camb. III. iii. (1857), 114-28 (E. A. 

looQyfg. Cist. i. 62. I leave Tintern (founded in 1131) out of account, as a 
house which had no real connection with the Welsh. 


CHAP. David's.^*'^ Some years later, probably in ii5i,^*'2it moved 
■ to the neighbourhood of Y Ty Gvvyn ar Daf (The White 
House on the Taf), where Hywel the Good had held his 
famous council ; ^"^ the abbey was not built on the banks of 
the Taf, but a mile away, on the river Gronw, and its true 
name is Blanchland, Whitland, or Alba Landa, " the White 
Moor ".^^* The site was given, with other lands in the district, 
by one John of Torrington,^"^ and it is sufficiently clear that, 
though this convent became the mother-house of all Cistercian 
foundations of Welsh origin, it owed its birth to no impulse 
of native devotion, but to the ordinary zeal of the foreigner 
for foreign conventual forms. If one could believe that the 
second Welsh Cistercian abbey, a colony of Whitland, was 
actually established at Cwm Hir in Maelienydd as early as 
1 143 by one Maredudd ap Maelgwn,^*"* an exception would 
have to be admitted to the general trend of affairs at the time ; 
Maredudd, however, is otherwise unknown as a prince of this 
region,^"^ and in any case the early foundation was an abortive 
one, the true birth-year of the abbey being that of its re-founda- 
tion in 1 1 76.^^** The year 1 1 47 saw a great accession to the 
strength of the Cistercian order in Wales ; by the absorption 
of the order of Savigny, Neath and Basingwerk were transferred 

1"! Ann. C. MS. C. s.a. 1144. The date is due to the editor, but is probably 
right and to be preferred to Wharton's 1143 {Angl. Sac. ii. 649). The MS. 
reads : " Ducti sunt monachi ordinis cysterciensis qui modo sunt apud albam 
landam in Westwalliam per bernardum episcopum qui dedit eis locum apud 
trefgarn in deuglethef " (Cott. MS. Dom. i. 147a (2)). Neither Trefgarn Owain 
nor Great Trefgarn can be described as in Deugleddyf, but Little Trefgarn is 
locally within the hundred, though reckoned a detached portion of the parish of 
St. Dogwell's. For its relation to St. David's see Fenton (2), 181-2. 

102 So Janauschek {Orig. Cist.). i<>3 p, 3^9. 

i"'* Possibly translating a Welsh " Waun Wen". There was a Praemon- 
stratensian Blanchland in Northumberland and another in the Cotentin. " Alba 
Domus," often used by Gir., is a translation of Ty Gwyn. 

105 King John, in his confirmation charter of 27th December, 1214 {Rot. 
Chart, 206), confirms to the church of St. Mary of " Alba Landa " and its monks 
"terram in qua abbatia de Alba Landa sita est, quam habent de dono Johannis 
de Thorynton ". Cf. Royal Charters, 73. 

108 According to Orig. Cist. i. 74-5, the Cistercian lists give 22nd July, 1143, 
as the date of the first foundation. For " Marreduch f. Maylgon " as donor of 
the capital endowment, see John's charter of 1214 in Rot. Chart, i. 205, and that of 
Henry HL ist June, 1232, in Man. Angl. v. 459. 

1" Possibly Maredudd ap Madog is meant, who ruled Maelienydd from 1140 
to I 146. 

los This is the view of Janauschek. 

to it,^^^ and in the same year Earl Robert of Gloucester founded CHAP, 


Margam, soon to become one of the most famous seats of 
religion in Britain.^^" But even yet it could hardly be said 
that the movement had gained any hold upon the Welsh 

Time, however, was all that was needed to enable the 
Cistercian ideal to win the affection of a folk for whom it had 
a natural affinity. It was gradually borne in upon the Welsh 
that these monks were of a very different type from the easy, 
luxurious Benedictines, comfortably quartered under the shadow 
of protecting castle walls, who had hitherto been in Wales the 
sole representatives of their class. " Our houses shall not be 
built," ran an early rule of the Cistercian order, " near cities, 
castles or villages, but in places far removed from the con- 
course of men." ^^^ No description could be truer of Blanch- 
land, which Leland in the sixteenth century saw " standing in 
a vast wood as in a wilderness," ^^^ or of Cwm Hir, hidden in 
a mountain glen in Maelienydd. These monks of Clairvaux, 
if strangers, were no allies of the Norman or Breton conqueror ; 
they came from distant Champagne and sought the solitudes 
of Wales, not as auxiliaries of baronial power, but in order to 
save their own souls. Nor was it merely in their choice of a 
place to dwell in that the Cistercian brethren showed themselves 
to be unlike the monks with whom Welshmen had hitherto 
been familiar. Their distinguishing mark was a rigorous and 
exacting self-denial, a resolute return to the austerity of primi- 
tive times and a noble scorn of all compromise with the world.^^^ 
At every point their system was a protest against the laxity 
which had crept into the monastic fold. They wore simple 
garments of undyed wool, and thus were " white monks " as 
distinguished from the " black monks " of the older pattern. 
They were abstemious in diet, eating no meat at any time and 
fasting for a great part of the year. Their churches were plain 

^"^Eng. Hist. Rev. viii. (1893), 669. 

""The history of this abbey is very fully told, with the aid of its rich collec- 
tion of muniments (now the property of Miss Talbot), in Birch, Margam Abbey 
(London, 1897). 

"1 Bng. Hist. Rev. viii. p. 648. "2 Wales, p. 115. 

113 Accounts of the Cistercians as they appeared to English observers will be 
found in Wm. Malm. G.R. 382-3 (514); Ord. Vit. viii. 26; Gir. Camb. iv. iii- 


CHAP, and unadorned, and at first they were loth to take tithes or 
^^^* other endowments of the kind and desired to live by the 
labour of their own hands. In all these respects the Cistercian 
practice was a return from degenerate Benedictine ways to 
the simplicity of the early ascetics, and as such it made a strong 
appeal to men who had not forgotten the traditions of Celtic 
monasticism in the days of its primal earnestness and warmth. 
The Cistercian abbot was a St. David or a^St. Teilo restored to 

It was soon after their great victory of 1 165 that the Welsh 
began to regard the new movement with a kindly eye, and the 
evidence goes to show that the change of attitude was very 
largely due to the enlightened policy of the Lord Rhys. It is 
clear that, from the time when he recovered full ascendancy in 
South Wales, the prince of Deheubarth uniformly protected 
and honoured monastic institutions within the sphere of his in- 
fluence. His favour even fell upon the older foundations, 
despite their foreign origin ; he confirmed to the Benedictine 
abbey of Chertsey the cell of Cardigan which it had acquired 
from St. Peter's, Gloucester,^^* and for some years left undis- 
turbed at Llandovery a cell which had been founded by the 
Cliffords as an offshoot of Great Malvern.^^^ He was a donor to 
the commandery established by the Knights Hospitallers at 
Slebech in Deugleddyf ^^^ It was but natural, therefore, that, 
when he came into possession of the country around Whitland, 
he should give his patronage to this house and confirm to it 
the gifts of John of Torrington. But he did much more. 
About 1 165 it was ruled over by a Welshman named Cynan,"^ 

"*Rhys's charter, which is not dated, will be found in Card. Priory, 144-5, 
where it is printed from an inspeximus of 3 Hen. VI. Documents of which there 
are translations in this book (pp. 135-6) show that the church of Holy Trinity at 
Cardigan was in dispute about 1160 between Chertsey and Gloucester. Earl 
Roger of Hertford then decided in favour of the latter, but Chertsey seems to have 
won at a later date. 

115 See Gir. Camb. iv. loo-i (Spec. Eccl. ii. 32), where the tale is told how 
the cell was broken up about 1185 as the result of the scandalous misconduct of the 
monks. The church had been given to Great Malvern by Richard fitz Pons before 
1126 (Mom. Angl. iii. 448). 

ii'' He gave the churches and vills of Llanrhystud and Llansantffraid in Cere- 
digion, with land at Ystrad Meurig (Fenton (2), 347-8). 

1" " Conano abbate Albe Terre" witnesses a grant made to Margam by Earl 
William of Gloucester before the death of his son Robert in 1166 — see Cartae Glam. 
iii. loi. B.T. 226 and B. Saes. s.a. 1176 (the true year) record the death of 


a fact which shows how soon the Welsh element had found its CHAP, 
true place in the Cistercian world, and one may reasonably " 

conclude that it was this circumstance that induced Rhys to 
become, not merely the protector of the abbey, but also a 
liberal benefactor to it.^^^ He bestowed upon it lands in 
Ystlwyf and Efelffre, in Emlyn, in Cantref Mawr and in Cere- 
digion, and among them the rich meadows of Rhuddlan Teifi, 
for which the monks successfully contended with the canons of 
Tal y Llychau.^^® As a crowning mark of confidence, Rhys 
sent to Whitland, there to spend youth, manhood and old age 
as a melancholy, sightless recluse, his son Maredudd, who had 
been blinded by Henry H. after the repulse on the Berwyn 

A little earlier than that famous victory, Whitland had 
sent out a colony which was to become the foremost monastic 
community in Wales. On ist June, 1164,^'''^ the monastery of 
Ystrad Fflur, a name soon Latinised into Strata Florida, was 
founded on the banks of the little river Fflur,^^^ in the upper 
valley of the Teifi, the land being the gift of Robert fitz 
Stephen, who was at the time the chief personage in the Clare 
lordship of Ceredigion.^^^ It was at first a house of quite 
modest proportions, and for a year or two its future must have 
seemed extremely doubtful, for in 1165 Robert fell into the 
grasp of the Lord Rhys and therewith English authority in 

" Kynan abat y ty gwynn ", He is praised by Gir. Camb. (vi. 59 \ltin. i. 5]) as 
" viro probo et religiose ". 

1^8 For the gifts of Rhys see John's charter to the abbey in Rot. Chart. 206. 
They include Blaen Gwyddno, near Lampeter Velffrey, Cilfargen, near Llandilo, 
Rhyd y Maengwyn, near Llanfyrnach, Crug y Chwil, Crug Eryr and Rhuddlan 
(near Llandysul) in South Cardiganshire. 

^i*Gir. Camb. iv. 143-5 ; Arch. Camb. V. x. (1893), 120-4, 226. 

120 See note 120 to chap, xiv., B.T. s.a. 1239, and Evans, Rep. i. p. 824 (from 
Pen. MS. 132, of the sixteenth century). 

121 Orig. Cist. i. 151. B.T. 202 and B. Saes. s.a. 1164 appear to assign the 
event to 1165, but their evidence is outv^'eighed by that cited by Janauschek. 

^22 1 agree with the late Mr. Stephen Williams that the first site of the abbey 
must have been at " Yr H6n Fynachlog" (The Old Monastery), on the stream 
still known as the Fflur, but much better authority than that of Leland is needed 
to prove that this first foundation was due to Rhys ap Tewdwr. See Sir. Flor. 

128 Newell (History of the Welsh Church, 1895, p. 303) was the first to point 
out the significance in this connection of Gir. Camb. iv. 152 ("domus Cistercien- 
sis ordinis . . . sub montanis Elennith a . . . Roberto Stephani filio . . . 
primum fundata"). 

VOL. II. 16 


CHAP. Ceredigion came to an end. But it weathered the storm and 


not long after so recommended itself to the victorious prince 

as to receive from him a very ample extension of the original 
endowment.^2* Behind the monastery the endless hills of 
Plynlimon stretched in wave upon wave of grassy upland, 
affording pasture for sheep and cattle innumerable, and as the 
new order was much given to pastoral occupations, Rhys 
threw open this region to the monks of Strata Florida, until 
their boundaries reached the river Wye.^26 ^g ^ result, per- 
haps, of this change of fortune, the site of the abbey was 
moved a couple of miles away to the banks of the Teifi, and 
here building soon commenced on a large scale ; the walls 
began to rise of one of the largest churches in Wales, over 
200 feet long, in a style which was characteristic of that 
age of transition from Norman to Early English forms. ^^® 
The abbots must have been Welsh almost from the beginning ; 
one David was at the head of the house in 1185^^^ and Abbot 
Seisyll took a conspicuous part in the preaching of the crusade 
in 1188.^2^ It was a natural result that Welsh princes should 
desire to end their days and be buried in a sanctuary which 
they now regarded as wholly their own. In 1175 Cadell ap 
Gruffydd, who had for more than twenty years been lost to 
the active life of Wales, is recorded to have died as an inmate 
of the abbey ; ^^® ten years later, Hywel ab leuaf of Arwystli 
was laid to rest within its walls,^^*^ Strata Florida was well 

^24 The only extant charter bestowed by Rhys upon the abbey is a confirma- 
tion of earlier gifts granted in 1184 at Llansantffraid Cwm Toyddwr (Afon. Angl. 
V. 632-3 ; Sir. Flor. Appendix, x-xiii). A charter of Henry II. confirming the 
donations of Rhys (Mon. Angl. v. 633 ; Sir. Flor. Appendix, xiii-xiv), is 
assigned by Eyton (Itin. 246) to December, 1181. 

^*^ See map in Str. Flor. 107. The grant of these pastures only gave the abbey 
common rights and did not shut out the older inhabitants ; this was so even in 
Leland's time — see Wales, p. 123. 

126 Excavations on the site were commenced in 1886 and the results are fully 
described in Str. Flor. chap. v. by the prime mover in the matter, Mr. Stephen 
W. Williams of Rhayader. 

127 II Yvlwydyn honno ybu uarw dauyd abat ystrat ffiur" {Bruts, 335 ; cf. 
B.T. 233, and B. Sues. s.a. 1185, which is correct). The new church was 
ready for use on 12th May, 1201 {B.T. 256). 

128 Gir. Camb. vi. iig, 126 (Itin. ii. 4, 7). 

129 B.T. 226; B. Sues. s.a. 1175. For Cadell see p. 503. 

ISO B.T. 233; B. Saes. s.a. 1185. Hywel may well have been, as is sug- 
gested in Str. Flor. iii, the donor to the abbey of the church of Llangurig. 


embarked upon its brilliant career as the premier abbey of chap. 
Wales. ^^^• 

Under the powerful patronage of the Lord Rhys, the Cis- 
tercian movement made rapid headway in the later years of 
the twelfth century. On 22nd July, 1170/^1 a colony of 
Whitland was established in North Wales. The bounty of 
Owain Cyfeiliog provided a site in the commote of Ystrad 
Marchell ^^^ and the new abbey came to be known as that of 
Strata Marcella. It received grants of land in Penllyn, in 
Edeyrnion and Cyfeiliog, where the grange of Talerddig was 
set in the midst of the broad grazing-grounds which lie around 
the head waters of the Severn. A terrible scandal over- 
shadowed its earliest years and almost blighted the hopes of 
those who looked to the Cistercian order to revive the monastic 
spirit in Wales.^^^ Enoch, its first abbot, and, no doubt, a 
Welshman, was a zealous and earnest worker, who threw him- 
self with energy into the task of establishing a Cistercian nun- 
nery for Welshwomen at Llansantffraid in Elfael. The enter- 
prise led him into temptation ; he allowed himself to be carried 
away by a violent passion for one of the inmates, a lady of 
birth and beauty, and finally eloped with her, deserting his 
abbey and his order and exposing both to the ridicule and scorn 
of the whole country. Enoch repented of his sin and returned to 
the abbey, but Ystrad Marchell must have stood the strain of this 

131 Orig. Cist. i. 160. Janauschek thinks there may have been a removal 
from the first site to the present one on loth July, 1172, and thus explains the ap- 
pearance in the lists under that date of an abbey of " Pola," clearly identical 
virith Ystrad Marchell. 

132 See Owain's grant in an inspeximus of 13 Edw. II. {Mon. Angl. v. 
637). The manor of Ystrad Marchell includes the whole of the parish of Guils- 
field (except Tir y Myneich) and an adjacent part of that of Meifod. Tir y Myn- 
eich represents the portion assigned to the abbey, and therefore reckoned a separate 
manor {App. Land. Com. 451). The abbey ruins actually stand in the township of 
Gungrog Fawr and the parish of Welshpool, but there is evidence that in the 
thirteenth century " Hergyngroyk " was in " Soyr stradmarghel " (Mont. Coll. i. 
124-5). A large number of charters of Ystrad Marchell are printed (some in trans- 
lations only) in Mont. Coll. iv. (1871), but there is a difficulty in accepting them 
all as genuine records. Not only do they come into conflict with other well- 
known sources, but it maybe noted as most suspicious that two assigned to 1183 
and 1 198 have precisely the same witnesses and in the same order, notwithstand- 
ing the interval of fifteen years. 

133 \Ye owe the story to Gir. Camb., who three times refers to it (ii. 248 ; iv. 
168-9 ; vi. 59). Meilyr of Caerleon is said to have had supernatural intelligence of 
the abbot's fall immediately it took place ; this would place it earlier than 1174, 
when the wizard was killed at the siege of Usk — see note 50 to chap. xv. 



CHAP, catastrophe with difficulty, and nothing further is heard of the ill- 
^^^' starred nunnery. Nevertheless, the progress of the new move- 
ment was not seriously threatened. On i st August, 1 1 yG,^^'^ the 
community of Cwm Hir, which had probably been out of pos- 
session for some thirty years, was restored to its former seat 
on the banks of the Clywedog. The refoundation may be taken 
to have been the work of Cadwallon ap Madog,^^^ at this time 
prince of Ceri and Maelienydd, though some help was given 
by Einion Clud of Elfael.^^® The death of an abbot Meurig in 
1 1 84 ^^' shows that here, as elsewhere, the Welsh element was in 
the ascendant. 

A few years later Strata Florida sent out its first colony, 
which settled at Nant Teyrnon, a couple of miles from Caer- 
leon, and founded a house known indifferently as the abbey 
of Caerleon or that of Lantarnam.^^^ The early history of the 
abbey is far from clear, but it would appear to have been set 
up in 1 1 79 by the bounty of a Welsh prince, Hywel ab lor- 
werth of Caerleon. ^^^ Its foundation is, therefore, a further 
witness to the popularity of the Cistercian movement among 
the Welsh, and by its means the white monks obtained a foot- 
ing in the highland pastures of Gwynllwg and Miskin, around 
Mynydd Islwyn and Aberdare.^*" The second colony of Strata 

134 Orig. Cist. i. 74. There is a full account of the abbey by S. W. Williams 
in Trans. Cymr. 1894-5, pp. 6i-g8. 

las Leland (Wales, p. 52) makes him the founder, though he is not mentioned 
in the charters of the abbey. 

138 He gave Carnaff in Lower Elfael, now known as Tir y Myneich in the 
parish of Clyro. See Rot. Chart. 206 ; Radnorsh. (2), 334 and 250. 

I*'' B.T. 233 ; B. Saes. s.a. 1184. 

138 Caerleon is the earlier, Lantarnam the later form ; although separately 
noticed by Tanner (327, 331) and Dugdale {Mon. Angl. v. 727-8), they are shown 
to be the same by the passages in B.T. (p. 230) and B. Saes. {s.a. 1179) as to the 
foundation and by a reference in a document of 1465 to " Karelyon alias Lanter- 
nan " (Arch. Camb. II. iii. [1852] 70). Nant Teyrnon perhaps took its name 
from the " arglwyd ar went is coet teirnyon twryf vliant " of Mab. 20 ; for the cor- 
ruption " Lantarnam " cf. Lancarfan (chap. vii. note 52). 

13" The date is yielded by B.T. and B. Saes. It is from a Bassaleg charter 
granted by " Hoelus filius loruorthi filii Oeni " that we incidentally learn that 
Hywel, in the lifetime of his father, had given " Emsanternon," i.e., Ynys 
Nant Teyrnon, to white monks (Mon. Angl. iv. 634), and, in accordance with 
this, the convent of " Karlyon " some years later refer to *' Dominus H. de 
Karliun" as their " patronus" (Mon. Angl. v. 728). 

1*" For the lands of the house see Tax. Nich. 281 and Valor Eccl. iv. 365 ; 
during the thirteenth century it was often at odds with Margam as to the great 
common of Hirwaen Wrgan, near Aberdare — see Margam Abb. pp. 174-5, 266-8 ; 


Florida travelled in the opposite direction and carried the new CHAP, 
enthusiasm for the first time into Gwynedd. In July, 1186, ^^' 
they settled at Rhedynog Felen, not far from Carnarvon,^*^ 
but ere long were removed to that site near the mouth of the 
Conway which was for a century to be the seat of the abbey 
of A hereon wy.^*'-^ It is impossible to say to whose patronage 
they were indebted for their introduction into the country or 
whose liberality gave them their early endowments ; only the 
name of Gruffydd ap Cynan ab Owain has been preserved as 
the donor of Gelliniog on the Menai Straits,i*^ for when, after 
his accession to full power throughout Gwynedd, Llywelyn ab 
lorwerth extended to Aberconwy his special favour and pro- 
tection, the fame of all other benefactors was sunk in that 
of the mighty prince of North Wales. Lands in Creuddyn, 
Arfon, Eifionydd, Arllechwedd, Mon and Rhufoniog had by 
this time enriched the house, and all were confirmed to it by 
Llywelyn's charter.^** It was characteristic of Cistercian am- 
bition that the abbey, already in possession of pastures on the 
southern slopes of Snowdon which stretched to the topmost 
crag of that monarch of mountains, set itself, with the aid of 
Llywelyn, to break up the monastic community of Beddgelert, 
of immemorial standing in that vicinity, and to annex its lands. 
The attempt was only defeated by an appeal to the justice of 
the holy see.^** 

Cartae Glam. i. 101-3, 104-6; iii. 236-7 ; Str. Flor. xxx-xxxi. There seems no 
good ground for believing that the convent was ever housed in Caerleon itself. 

i^ijB.T. 233; B. Sues. s.a. 1186. The day was 24th July, according to 
Reg. Conway. Rhedynog Felen (parish of Llanwnda) continued to be a posses- 
sion of the abbey — see Llywelyn's charter in Mon. Angl. v. 672 (Redenocuelen) ; 
Tax. Nich. 292 (Reddenaut) ; Reg. Conway, 8 (Redinoc Velyn). 

1*2 They were there in the spring of 1188, if we may accept the statement 
of Gir. in Itin. ii. 10 (vi. 136-7). One notes, however, that the passage was 
added in the second edition (1197). 

^•^^Reg. Conway, 7-8. The blank may safely be filled with the name of 
Gruffydd, who was buried (in 1200) at Aberconwy (B.T.) and was certainly lord of 
Anglesey — see note 74 above. Gelliniog is near Dwyran in the parish of Llan- 

^** Printed in Mon. Angl. v. 672-4 and thence in Williams' Aberconwy, 163- 
71. The date 1198 must be wrong, for Llywelyn was not at that time " totius 
Norwalliae princeps," or in a position to make many of the grants included in 
the charter. 

"'' Aberconwy and Beddgelert are clearly the houses indicated by Gir. Camb. 
in the story told in Spec. Eccl. iii. 8 (iv. 167-8), and so manifest are the allusions 
that the keeping back of the names is a mere affectation of reticence. The 


CHAP, The expansion of the order in Wales continued until the 

■ very end of the thirteenth century. In 1198 or 1199 Cwm 
Hir sent out an offshoot to Meirionydd,^*^ where land was pro- 
vided, probably by Maredudd ap Cynan, at that " cymer " or 
confluence of the Mawddach and the Wnion where once had 
stood the castle of Uchtryd ab Edwin. ^^'^ Meirionydd and 
Ardudwy were abundantly furnished with those upland grazing 
grounds especially coveted by Cistercian industry, and the 
liberality of Maredudd and his brother Gruffydd soon estab- 
lished the abbey of Cymer in possession of many a grassy 
vale between Trawsfynydd and Machynlleth, where little but 
the lowing of their herds and the bleating of their flocks broke 
the august silence of the mountains.^*^ Soon afterwards Ystrad 
Marchell supplied a convent to the one quarter of Wales, viz.. 
Northern Powys, which had not yet received one. On 28th 
January, 1201,^*° Madog ap Gruffydd, at the instance of the 
abbots of Whitland, Strata Florida, Ystrad Marchell and Cwm 
Hir, established Cistercian monks at Llyn Egwestl in lal, in 
a valley known from the ancient pillar of King Elisedd as 
Glyn y Groes (The Vale of the Cross) and thus was founded 
the abbey of Valle Crucis.^^*^ He bestowed upon the monks 
lands in lal and Glyndyfrdwy and in the neighbourhood of 
Wrexham and Chirk.^^^ Ere long their beautiful church rose 
upon the spot, a building of which the tall lancet windows, 

former of the two had the grange of Nanhwynain (the modern Nant Gwynant), 
with lands extending from Beddgelert church to Penygwryd and " ad caput 
Wedduavaur" (Aberconwy, p. 168). 

^■^^ B.T. 252 gives the former date; Janauschek, relying on the old lists, 
prefers the latter {Orig. Cist. i. 202) 

^*^ See p. 466. Maredudd was lord of Meirionydd in 1202 {B.T. 256) and 
probably received it from his brother in 1 194 — see p. 589. 

^*8 The earliest known charter is that of Llywelyn ab lorwerth, confirming 
in 1209 the gifts of Maredudd and Gruffydd ap Cynan and Hywel ap Gruffydd 
(Mon. Angl. v. 458-9 [wrongly assigned to Cwm Hir] ; Rec. Cam. 199-201). 
The lands lay chiefly in the parishes of Llanfachreth, Llanelltyd, Llanegryn, and 
Trawsfynydd, but the abbey had also an important grange at Neigwl in Lleyn. 

^*^ Orig. Cist. i. 205. B.T. notices the foundation of " manachlawc leneg- 
westyl yn ial " (pp. 254-6 ; Bruts, 342) at the end of 1200. 

150 See the foundation charter in Mon. Angl. v. 637 (wrongly assigned to 
Ystrad Marchell) and /lycA.Cawft. III. xii. (1866), 412-13. That Llyn — not Glyn or 
Llan — Egwestl is the true form appears to be established by a line of Einion Wan 
— " Gwyrwawryn llawrllynn egwestl " (Myv. Arch. I. 333 [233]). For the pillar 
of Elisedd (not Elisejo') see p. 244. 

^^1 Halton in the parish of Chirk and the commote ofNanheudwy was given 
by Madog in 1218 (Arch. Camb. IV. xi. [1880], 149). 


severe yet well proportioned, are still mirrored in the depths of CHAP, 
the monastic fishpond. 

Nunneries would seem to have been no part of the old 
Welsh monastic system, and the issue of the experiment made 
in this direction at Llansantffraid was scarcely encouraging to 
those who wished to see houses of religion for women estab- 
lished in Wales. Nevertheless, two Cistercian nunneries came 
into existence at this period and retained their position until 
the general dissolution of monasteries in the reign of Henry 
VIII. Llanllyr, on the southern bank of the Aeron, was 
founded by Rhys ap Grufifydd as a daughter-house of Strata 
Florida ; after the great prince's death, it was despoiled of some 
of its lands by the greed of the mother-abbey, but retained a 
tolerable endowment.^^^ Llanllugan owed its origin to Mare- 
dudd ap Rhotpert, lord of Cydewain ^^^ ; it was not rich in 
landed revenues, but drew the tithes of several important 
churches in Southern Powys.^^* 

It has been already said that the new outburst of enthus- 
iasm for the monastic life which marks the close of the twelfth 
century in Wales was due in the main to sympathy with 
Cistercian ideals, and thus the order came to be as familiarly 
known in Welsh valleys as in Yorkshire dales. But it is 
worthy of note that the monastic revival also benefited to some 
slight extent other religious orders, which shone in the reflected 
radiance of the holy brethren of Citeaux. Rhys ap Grufifydd, 
whose broad and catholic sympathy extended to the most 
diverse forms of religious effort, introduced into his dominions 
the Premonstratensian order, establishing a house of canons 
at Talyllychau (or Talley), not far from his royal seat of 
Dinefwr.^*^ There can be no doubt that its inmates were 
Welshmen, and in 1 2 1 5 the pure Welsh blood of its abbot, 
lorwerth, was a main argument for his election to the vacant 

152 Llanllyr is, beyond a doubt, the " domus monialium pauperum " of Gir. 
Camb. iv. 152 (Spec. iii. 5), where its early history is told. For other references 
see Gervase, ii. 443 (A. Lanter) ; Tax. Nich. 276 ; Valor, iv. 397 ; Leland, 
Wales, p. 51. 

153 por Maredudd, see p. 648. 

15* The foundation charter will be found in Mont. Coll. ii. (1869), 305-6- Of- 
also Mont. Coll. xxi. (1887), 332 (under " Llanveyr ") ; Tax. Nich. 289 ; Valor, 
iv. 456 ; Arch. Camb. III. xiv. (1868), 162. 

155 For a full account of Tal y Llychau see Arch. Camb. V. x. (1893) xi., 
(1894). It >8' "o doubt, the " A. Premustre " of Gervase, ii. 443. 


CHAP, see of St. David's.^^® The Knights Hospitallers were another 
community who at this time gained the favour of the Welsh ; 
mention has already been made of the gifts of the Lord Rhys 
to the commandery of Slebech, founded by Walter fitz Wizo 
on the banks of the eastern Cleddau,^*^ and it can have been 
little, if any, later than the year 1200 when the knights ob- 
tained a footing in Gwynedd.^*^ Their North Welsh home 
was at Dolgynwal, not far from the source of the Conway, 
and it was probably Llywelyn ab lorwerth who gave them the 
spot known to-day by the appropriate name of Yspyty Ifan 
or the Hospital of St. John. 

The warm zeal and devotion of these years transferred to 
the hands of the monks a very large part of the soil of Wales 
and perhaps doubled the amount of land under ecclesiastical 
control in the country. In time to come the monks were to 
repay the generosity of their countrymen, not merely in the 
regular way of spiritual sustenance and comfort, but also by 
their services as patrons and custodians of the national litera- 
ture. In the age of Rhys ap Grufifydd, however, the appeal 
for support was a purely religious one, and no better proof can 
be supplied of the genuine earnestness of Welsh faith at this 
time than the ungrudging response which was accorded to it. 

IV. Welsh Society in 1200. 

(A complete picture of Wales at the end of the twelfth century is given 
by Giraldus Cambrensis in his Descriptio ; other valuable sources are the De 
Nugis Curialium of Walter Map and the Mabinogion.) 

At the end of the twelfth century, during the whole of 
which the Welsh had been exposed to Norman aggression and 
to the subtler yet no less potent influence of Norman culture, 
it is natural to inquire what manner of men the course of their 
history had made them, how far they differed from and how 
far they resembled their ancestors of the pre-Norman days. 

^** Gir. Camb. iii. 361, where he is called " purum Walensem ". 

^^' Note 116, Slebech claimed Wizo as a benefactor (" ex dono Wiz " — 
Fenton (2), 347), but, inasmuch as he died before 1130 (chap. xii. note 78), when 
the order had as yet no footing in the island, his son would seem to have been 
the true founder. 

158 The earliest reference to Dolgynwal belongs to 1225, when Llywelyn 
bestowed upon it the tithes of Ellesmere (Eyton, Shrops. x. p. 247). It may be 
assumed that it had already existed for some years. 


There is, happily, no lack of material for an answer to this CHAP, 
question ; more than one shrewd observer of this period has 
placed on record his view of the Welsh character and his im- 
pressions of Welsh society, and the general effect of the testi- 
mony is to show that in essentials Wales still retained its 
ancient social structure, remaining a tribal and pastoral com- 
munity in spite of the great wave of feudalism which beat 
upon its eastern flank and daily threatened to engulf the older 
social system. 

The economic basis of society was still the pasturing of 
flocks and herds. Agriculture held, in the purely Welsh dis- 
tricts, a quite subordinate position. " Most of their land," 
says Giraldus, " serves for grazing ; little of it is used for 
tillage, still less for gardens and scarcely any for orchards." ^^^ 
Their manner of life was reflected in the food they ate ; milk, 
butter and cheese were staple articles in their diet, which also 
included abundance of meat, but no great quantity of bread.^®" 
Let the Cistercian boast, quoth the witty Walter Map, his 
abstinence from flesh ; I pit against him the hardy Welshman, 
who eats no bread.^^^ William of Newburgh speaks of the 
wooded glades of the country, where there was rich herbage 
for innumerable sheep and cattle, but remarks that there was 
little land suited for the raising of crops, and that, in conse- 
quence, corn was imported from the neighbouring English 
shires.^^2 Low-lying Anglesey, with an average rainfall not 
much above^that of south-eastern England,^*^ was an exception, 
and owed to its fertility its title of " mam Cymru," i.e., the 
nourisher of Wales,^^* but Eryri remained until the nineteenth 
century a land almost entirely innocent of the plough.^^^ 

Broadly speaking, therefore, Wales was at this time without 
that basis of agricultural industry which is the condition of 
a settled way of living and of all development in commerce, 
craftsmanship, navigation, and architecture. The life of the 
people was simple and its needs soon satisfied. In addition to 
corn, it was necessary to import iron and salt, two products 

169 u Agris igitur plurimum utuntur pascuis, parum cultis, floridis parce, 
consitis parcissime " (vi. 201 {Descr. i. 17]). 

160 Gir. vi. 179-80 {Descr. i. 8), i"! De Nugii, p. 52. 

162 \Ym. Newb. ii. 5. i^s ^.pp. Land Com., 262. ^^* See p. 230. 

166 See Williams, Observations on the Snowdon Mountains (Oxford, 1802), 
p. 19. 


CHAP, which the country did not yield/^* and most of the cloth used 
^^^" in Wales was of foreign manufacture, though the coarse kind 
of rug or blanket known as " brychan " was made at home.^*^ 
There must also have been some little equivalent in the way 
of exports ; Welsh timber is known to have been in request, 
and, during the progress of the new buildings at Abingdon, 
Abbot Faritius kept six wagons, each drawn by twelve oxen, 
which were constantly employed in the haulage of wood cut in 
the marches of Powys.^^^ But, when these deductions have 
been made, there is full warrant for the statement of Giraldus 
that the Welsh did not busy themselves with trade, with ship- 
ping, or with any kind of handicraft.^®® No Welsh prince 
of this period coined money, built ships, or granted trading 
privileges. No towns arose as the result of the action of any 
Welsh chief, though Rhys ap Gruffydd was enlightened enough 
to give his protection to the boroughs he found established at 
Cardigan and Llandovery."" Little communities might gather 
around the leading monasteries and royal strongholds, but of 
true urban life there was none in the districts under native 
rule ; the Welshman's interests were entirely rural, while the 
country meant for him no rich succession of smiling, well-tilled 
fields, but Nature's profusion of rock, glen, moor, copse, lake, 
and meadow, in the midst of which he lived the blithe and 
careless life of the hunter, the fisher, and the herdsman. 

It is the predominantly pastoral character of Welsh life 
which explains the mobility of the people and the ease with 

166 Pqj. thg imports into Wales see Gir. vi. 218 (mercimonia ferri, panni, 
salis et bladi) ; Rymer i. 264 (terrum vel acerum vel pannum) ; Matt. Paris, Hist. 
Major, V. 675, 677. 

1*'' Gir. vi. 184 {Descr. i. 10), where mention is made of " panno . . . duro et 
aspero, quern patria parit, qui et vulgari vocabulo brachan dicitur ". It is clear 
from this passage and from Mab. 146 and De Nugis, p. 102, that the " brychan " 
was not a " cloak " [LL. i. 77, 723) or " bed coverlet " {ibid. 83), but a bed or 
mattress upon which the sleeper lay. 

168 Chronicon Monasterii de Abingdon, ed. Stevenson (Rolls Series, 1858), ii. 

169 «« Non mercimoniis, non navigiis, non mechanicis artibus . . . vexantur " 
(vi. 180 \pescr. i. 8]). 

1''" There were "burgenses" in Cardigan in 1199, when Maelgwn sold the 
place to King John {Rot. Chart. 636), and it was no doubt to oblige this foreign 
colony that Rhys had allowed the priory to maintain its position. About 1185 
Rhys had " burgenses " attached to his castle of " Lananeveri," who threatened 
to leave the place and go back to England if a stop were not put to the excesses 
of the monks of the adjacent cell of Malvern (Gir. Camb. iv. loi). 


which they baffled their foes by transporting their chattels from CHAP, 
a threatened district to one of greater security. They had no 
stake in the soil — no buildings they feared to sacrifice, no crops 
they would not readily abandon. Again and again the policy 
of retreat is followed, in 1095, on the occasion of the first in- 
vasion of Rufus, in 1 1 14 and in 1 121, when Henry I. attacked 
Wales, and in 11 58, when Rhys ap Gruffydd was menaced by 
the power of Henry 11.^^^ It was resorted to in 121 1 by Lly- 
welyn ab lorwerth, when John led an army against him.^^^ 
Invasions had no terrors for men who could in a few hours 
pack up all their household goods in wagons or on the backs 
of sumpter-horses, drive their sheep and swine and cattle before 
them as they moved westward to the mountain passes, and 
cheerfully leave to the vengeance of the enemy the rudely- 
fashioned huts of lopped timber and wattle which had sheltered 
them and theirs for a season or two from the wind and rain of 

One is not surprised to find a race nurtured under such con- 
ditions described as hardy, energetic, and of great endurance. 
The Welsh, says Giraldus, are an active, restless people, tem- 
perate as to food and drink, and much employed in those 
pursuits which strengthen the body and train men to suffer 
all manner of hardships.^^* They pass the livelong day in these 
occupations — the reference is, no doubt, primarily to the young 
" boneddigion " — traversing woodlands, scaling mountain 
ridges, throwing the javelin, shooting arrows, and come back in 
the evening to a frugal, but well-earned meal at the family 
hearth. An adventurous boldness, for which no task was too 
heavy, no dangers too formidable, was the quality they especi- 
ally strove to cultivate, and many a tale was told of the daring 
exploits by which they proved their mettle and their resource. 
Let the following, vouched for by Walter Map, serve as a 
sufficient illustration. Cadwallon ab Ifor, lord of Senghenydd, 
had a most valuable mare, the fame of which brought one 

i''! See pp. 406, 463, 465, 506. 

I'^a See p. 634. 

1''' For the construction of Welsh houses see p. 314. It may be added 
that Dim. II. viii. 67 shows that the evidences of the former existence of a Welsh 
homestead would be, not ruined walls or a garden run wild, but " the place of a 
drying-kiln, a hearthstone or a horse-block ". 

'^^ Gir. Camb. vi. 179, 182, 181 {JDtscr. i. 8, g). 


CHAP. Genillyn of North Wales to the South on a predatory errand.^^® 
^^^' Adventurous theft was in those days as honourable among the 
Welsh as piracy among the heroes of Homer, and it was no less 
honourable because the penalty of failure was instant execu- 
tion. But Genillyn found the task he had set himself more 
difficult than he had expected, and one evening he unbosomed 
himself to his host Trahaearn, telling him how rigorously the 
noble animal was guarded against mishap. Trahaearn laughed 
him to scorn, called him a North-Welsh coward, and undertook 
the business himself In the daytime the mare grazed in 
the midst of a crowd of retainers ; at night she was tethered 
in the farthest end of the chieftain's hall at Gelligaer, with the 
banked-up fire on its open hearth between her and the only 
door, and around it the sleeping " teulu," while betwixt her 
and the fire four trusty slaves slept on a " brychan," so as to 
be ready instantly to defend their precious charge from any 
interference. Trahaearn was in nowise daunted by these ob- 
stacles. One dark, starless night, when all the inmates of the 
" neuadd " were in profoundest sleep, he cut a small hole in 
the door, deftly inserted his hand and shifted the bolt, and soon 
had the portal wide open. Next he unloosed the mare, slipped 
on her the bridle he carried with him, tied her tail to the rough 
selvage of the " brychan," and dragged the four slaves, as they 
slept, through the middle of the great fire. He was well on 
his way out ere they could realise what had happened to them ; 
their cries, as they awoke to the situation, roused the remainder 
of the sleepers, but by this time Trahaearn, with the " brychan " 
behind him, was riding swiftly through the forest. For a while 
the stray sparks which clung to the surface of the blanket en- 
abled his track to be followed, but, as these were gradually 
extinguished, he was lost in the impenetrable darkness. 

Men bred in this austere school developed into well-knit 
and resourceful warriors, especially fitted for that guerrilla war- 
fare which was constantly being waged between the English 
and the Welsh. War and preparation for war were indeed the 

i^'* For this story see De Nugis, pp. 101-2. The owner of the mare is called 
" Cadolanus filius Vther," but the mention of " Gesligair " as his home affords a 
strong presumption that Cadwallon ab Ifor Bach, for whom see p. 637, is really 
meant. There is a moated moundat Gelligaer (besides the Roman fort), pointing 
to the existence here of a " llys " of the lords of Senghenydd {Arch. Camb. VI. 
i. [1901], 59). 


normal occupation of the Welsh freeman. " The defence of CHAP, 
their native land and of its liberty," says Giraldus,^'''*' " is their 
sole concern ; they fight for fatherland and labour for liberty. 
. . . They deem it ignoble to die in their beds and an 
honour to fall in the field of battle.^''^ . . . They will expose 
their defenceless bodies to the attacks of mail-clad knights, will 
engage without weapons fully armed men, and will rush on 
foot against masses of heavy cavalry. And often in such 
encounters their mere nimbleness of movement and their in- 
domitable courage will win for them the victory." If their 
first wild onslaught was not successful, they were easily dis- 
persed in flight, but their retreat was not a rout ; their light 
equipment, which included a corslet, but as a rule no other 
defensive armour, enabled them as they fled to harass their 
pursuers with missile weapons, and so great was their elasticity 
that it was always unsafe to assume that a final and crushing 
defeat had been inflicted upon them.^^^ The men of North 
Wales were especially skilful in the use of the lance ; the South 
Welsh arm was pre-eminently the bow, a weapon drawn 
with remarkable effect by the warriors of Gwent, who could 
drive their arrows through thick oaken doors and even transfix 
knights to the saddles of their horses.^^^ Giraldus did well to 
impress upon the English government the folly of sending 
heavy cavalry of the usual feudal pattern to contend against 
such enemies as these, who never opposed to it cavalry of their 
own or held their ground in a pitched battle, but trusted to the 
methods of surprise and panic, disconcerting, worrying and 
demoralising the foe.^^** 

Yet, notwithstanding the stress laid upon military matters, 
Welsh life was not without a more kindly and genial aspect. 
In the home circle the Welshman was generous and open- 
handed, and prime importance was everywhere attached to the 
virtue of hospitality,^^^ The stranger who in his journeyings 
reached a Welsh homestead of the better sort neither asked for 
nor was offered shelter and entertainment ; they were his by 
unquestioned right. He gave up to his host the custody of 

i''6vi. i8o (Descr. i. 8). i" Cf. De Nugis, p. loo (Fit ut pauci canescant), 
^''^Ibid. pp. 2og-io (ii. 3). ^''^ Ibid. p. 177 (Descr. 1. 6); 54 {Itin. i. 4). 
^sojbid. pp, 220-1 (Descr. ii. 8). 
181 With Gir, Camb. vi. 182-4 (Descr. i. 10) cf. De Nugis, pp. 94-5. 


CHAP, his arms, and, by his refusal or acceptance of the water proffered 
for the washing of his feet, showed whether he was to be re- 
garded as a visitor for the day or proposed to stay the night. 
But it was reckoned highly discourteous to question him as to 
his movements, until, at any rate, the third day of the visit had 
been reached, and meanwhile, he was free of the house and all 
it could afford. No greater insult could be offered to such a 
guest than to suggest to him that he was outstaying his welcome. 
Walter Map has a tragic tale to tell of a foolish wife who, in 
her husband's absence, upbraided a casual visitor, as he lay on 
his couch one morning, with his reluctance to face a snowstorm 
which he could see raging without, as he looked through the 
open door. Stung by her reproaches, the man had risen and 
made off into the forest, where he was soon beset by ferocious 
wolves. The husband, hearing on his return what had happened, 
was beside himself with rage, and avenged his tarnished honour 
by forthwith killing his hapless wife. He then set himself to 
trace the footprints of the stranger, whom he found at last 
sitting exhausted in the snow and watched by a great wolf, 
the last of a pack of ten of whom the traveller had despatched 
the remainder. When the wolf had been speared, he bore his 
guest back to the forlorn shelter of his home, but the man did 
not long survive, and his kin took up the feud on his behalf, 
treating the matter as one of " galanas," since the conduct of 
the wife amounted to nothing less than manslaughter. 

The Welsh had the merits and the faults of a strenuous, 
impulsive, quick-witted and eager race. They roamed their 
hills barefoot and thinly clad, slept in their day clothes on the 
hardest of couches, and never bemoaned the loss of a dinner.^^^ 
Norman luxury was not allowed to corrupt the Spartan 
simplicity of their daily life. Nor had they any touch of the 
servility of the English ; from the highest to the lowest, they 

I*'' Gir. vi. i8i (nudis autem pedibus ambulant), 184, 182 {Descr. i. 8, 10, 9). 
The dress of the ordinary Welshman consisted of a linen shirt ("crys," the 
"interula" of Gir.) and drawers (" llawdyr "), over which was worn a woollen 
coat or tunic (" pais," " pallium "), reaching the knees or the calves and secured 
by a girdle (" gwregys "). Sometimes a " mantell " or cloak was added. Women 
wore the "crys," the "llenlliein," which was a long robe reaching the feet, and 
the " ffunen," a white headband, compared by Gir. to the turban of the East. See 
LL. i. 56, 64, 94, 238, 308, 380, 392, 676, and the rough drawings in Lat. A. 
(dating from about 1200). Map remarks that the Welsh wore little wool and no 
fur and went barefoot (De Nugis, p. 52). 


were unabashed in the presence of the great, and spoke their CHAP, 
minds with delightful frankness of utterance.^^^ They were 
firm in friendship, but implacable as foes. When their ire was 
roused they spilt blood like water, and shrank from no danger 
to themselves in the effort to avenge an injury or win a point 
in the great game of war. Oaths and promises were lightly 
broken ; the keenly felt present wrong overshadowed and 
dwarfed the past engagement.^^* Yet it was only as repre- 
senting the survival of tribal custom and morality that Welsh 
life could be termed barbarous. In intellectual ability and 
mental culture the race stood high, and its achievements in the 
sphere of letters have already been described.^^^ Poets, chron- 
iclers, musicians, and writers of romance appealed to a public 
of trained intelligence. In religious devotion, also, the Welsh 
were not inferior to any nation in Christendom. ^^^ Their 
hermits and recluses were of spotless purity of life, and uni- 
versal reverence was rendered to them. Warlike as the people 
were, they scrupulously observed the peace of the Church, and 
the lands devoted to the service of religion were never dis- 
turbed by the clash of arms. Despite their failings, they 
would indeed be a happy and fortunate folk, thinks Giraldus, 
and sure of the blessings of this world and the next, if they 
had good pastors and bishops and were under the rule of one 
good prince. 

i^Gir. Camb. vi. 192-3 (Descr. i. 15). 

^^* The charge of perfidy is made by Gir. (vi. 206 [Descr, ii. i]), Wm. Newb. 
ii. 5) and Map {De Nugis, p. 94). 
isschap. xiv. §4. 
18* Gir. Camb. vi. 203-4 (Descr. i, 18). Cf. De Nugis, p. 75. 



(In the reign of John, the great series of English state records begins to be 
fairly complete, and light is thrown on the history of Wales by the Charter, 
Patent and Close Rolls. I have also used, in addition to the Welsh and English 
chroniclers for the period, the Rotulus Misae of ii John and the Rotulus de 
Praestito of the following year, Rymer's Foedera, Dugdale's Monasticon, the 
works of Gir. Camb., and the poems in the Myv. Arch. Norgate's yohn 
Lackland and McKechnie's Magna Carta have also been of much service.) 

I. The Rivalry of Llywelyn and Gwenwynwyn. 

CHAP. The thirteenth century may, in Welsh history, be appropriately 
^^^^' described as the age of the two Llywelyns. During its first 
forty years the figure of the elder prince of that name mounts 
into ever greater prominence until it dominates, in unquestioned 
pre-eminence, the whole of Wales. At a later period the 
younger Llywelyn comes to the front as the one leader of the 
Welsh people, pursuing his grandfather's policy for many years 
with all his grandfather's success, until in the last quarter of 
this century, so fateful in the annals of the Welsh, his good 
fortune deserted him and he fell a victim to the power and 
skill of Edward I., bringing down with him in his ruin the 
edifice of Welsh independence. 

Llywelyn ab lorwerth had proved his capacity, not only by 
the vigour and spirit with which he had secured for himself a 
share in the realm of Gwynedd, but also by his victorious 
assault upon the border fortress of Mold at the beginning of 
II 99. During the next four years his progress was rapid. 
In 1200 his cousin Grufifydd ap Cynan died, having in his last 
hours, according to a fashion which was beginning to become 
popular, donned the habit of a monk in the new Cistercian 
abbey of Aberconwy.^ Llywelyn at once entered into posses- 

^jB.T. 254. Gruffydd had been a benefactor to the abbey (see p. 601), 
and the eulogy of him in MS. C. of B.T. probably came therefore from a monk 
of the house. For Prydydd y Moch's lament see chap. xvi. note 74. 



sion of Arfon, Anglesey, and Arllechwedd,'^ to the exclusion of CHAP. 
Gruffydd's son Hywel, and thus became lord of almost the ^^^^• 
whole of Gwynedd, including Aberffraw, its " principal seat " 
and ancient centre, Bangor, the home of its bishop, and 
Degannwy, the cradle of its ruling house.^ He was now in- 
dubitably the foremost prince of North Wales, though Gwen- 
wynwyn of Powys was still, as the course of events was to 
make clear, a rival by no means to be despised. In the 
following year these conquests were rounded off by the 
acquisition of Lleyn.* This district was held by Maredudd ap 
Cynan, who had perhaps received it from Llywelyn on the 
death of Gruffydd on condition of faithful service ; ^ be this 
as it may, Maredudd is accused of intriguing against his 
powerful cousin, who drives him out of the cantref to his 
southern lordship of Meirionydd. In 1202 he lost even this, 
being supplanted by his nephew, Hywel ap Gruffydd,^ a 
young prince who made no difficulty about submitting himself 
entirely to Llywelyn and thus establishing the lord of Gwynedd 
in full authority from the Dovey to the Dee. 

The inevitable struggle with Gwenwynwyn now began. 
In August, 1202, Llywelyn raised a force for the reduction of 
Southern Powys, calling to his aid the other princes of North 
Wales, who responded to the summons, with the exception of 
Elise ap Madog, lord of Penllyn.^ But peace was brought 
about by the intervention of the clergy ere the two rivals came 

2 This is to be inferred, notwithstanding the silence oiB.T., from Liywelyn's 
action in 1201. 

3 Degannwy was in Creuddyn, a commote of Rhos, and therefore in Gwynedd 
below Conway, but it seems to have been held at his death by Gruffydd — see the 
elegy of Prydydd y Moch. 

^B.T. 256. 

5 In 1188 Lleyn " erat filiorum Oenei " (Gir. Camb. vi. 123), i.e., of Rhodri. 
At some time or other between that year and 1200, probably in 1194 or 1195, it 
passed to Gruffydd ap Cynan, as is shown by that prince's grant of three acres 
and three tenants in Nevin to the canons of Haughmond (Arch. Camb. III. vi. 
[i860], 332, from a lost Wynnstay MS.). It may be added that the common 
ascription of this grant to the elder Gruffydd ap Cynan (d. 1137) is obviously 
wrong ; Cadwaladr was the first to bestow upon Haughmond the church of 
Nevin, no doubt during his residence at Ness (chap. xiv. notes 17 and 44), and 
the gift was confirmed by Dafydd ab Owain, his wife Emma, and Llywelyn ab 
lorwerth (Arch. Camb. ibid.). 

^B.T. 256. Hywel is mentioned in the C3Tner charter of 1209 as one of 
the benefactors of the abbey (Rec. Cam. 199). 

7 B.T. 256-8. For Elise see p. 566. 
VOL. II. 17 


CHAP, to blows on this occasion,^ and the warlike fury of Llywelyn, 
' diverted from its principal object, fell upon the hapless head 
of Elise. He dispossessed him of Penllyn and its castle of 
Bala,^ treating him as a vassal who had fallen short of his 
obligations to his lord, and only allowed him, for his bare 
maintenance, the castle of Crogen ^° and a few trefs in a remote 
corner of the commote. By this measure of reprisal the 
prince of Gwynedd secured a firm foothold for the next attack 
upon Gwenwynwyn, which could not be long delayed. 

In the struggle between the two princes, the decisive 
influence was to be the action of the English crown. The 
change which took place when by the death of Richard I. in 
April, 1 1 99, the youngest of the sons of Henry H. became 
king of England was one of much importance for Wales. 
Richard knew nothing of the country and was content to leave 
its government to his ministers ; John, on the other hand, was 
not only a lord of the Welsh march, but had also gained, as a 
rebel leader, some insight into Welsh politics and the Welsh 
character. In dealing with Wales, he had useful experience 
to guide him, and he pursued, on the whole, a settled and 
consistent policy. His aim was to divide and to disintegrate, to 
checkmate the designs of the more formidable chiefs by favour- 
ing their rivals, so that thus the land might be torn by the strife 
of opposing and not ill-balanced parties. It was a policy which 
for many years bade fair to be successful, and only failed 
because the statesmanship of Llywelyn enabled him to take 
advantage of the serious difficulties in which the king involved 
himself as his reign drew to a close. 

John seems to have begun with the idea of giving his 
special favour to Llywelyn, and in September, 1 1 99, took him 
under his protection and confirmed him in possession of all 
his lands.^^ But a fuller review of the situation led him to 
change his mind, and in December, not only did he secure to 
Gwenwynwyn all the territories he had, but promised him, in 
significant terms, what he might win fromithe king's enemies.^^ 

^ When Giraldus visited Gwenwynwyn in the latter half of August, 1202, he 
found him " in expeditione contra Lewelinum, cui tunc concordatus fuerat " 
(iii. 226). 

8 The well-known " Tomen y Bala" is, no doubt, the castle mound. 
10 A township in the eastern part of the parish of Llandderfel. 
^'^Rot. Chart. 23 (Le Mans, 28th Sept.). ^^Ibid. 63 (Poitiers, 4th Dec). 


As a similar grant was made at the same time to Gruffydd ap CHAP. 
Cynan/^ one may easily see that Llywelyn was for the time 
being the object of the royal suspicion and disfavour. When 
John came over to England for a short visit in the spring of 
1 200, his attitude was still the same ; he gave Gwenwynwyn 
on 1 1 th April the valuable royal manor of Ashford in Derby- 
shire for a render of one sparrowhawk each year, and therewith 
leave to hunt, with four greyhounds, in the king's forests as 
he journeyed to and from the court.^^ It was in this year 
that Llywelyn became master of the whole of Gwynedd ; his 
sudden rise may perhaps have altered the opinion held of 
him by the English government, for towards the end of the 
year another change of policy is to be perceived ; there is an 
evident desire not to drive so powerful a chieftain to extremi- 
ties, but to come to a reasonable arrangement with him. First, 
a truce is made with him ; ^^ then he is invited by John to 
meet him and discuss terms of peace,^^ and, when this plan 
has broken down and the king has to return to France, the 
Archbishop of Canterbury and the justiciar, Geoffrey fitz Peter, 
Earl of Essex, are despatched to the border to arrive at an 
understanding with so troublesome a foe.^'^ The result was 
the treaty of nth July, 1201 ; Llywelyn swore fealty to John 
and promised to do homage as soon as the king was in England 
again ; in return, he was recognised as the rightful possessor of 
all the lands he had acquired, subject only to any fair legal 
proceedings which might be brought against him under English 
or Welsh law.^^ 

When Giraldus Cambrensis, in the course of his campaign 
on behalf of the rights of St. David's and his own, visited North 
Wales in the winter of 1 201-2, the loyalty of Llywelyn was by 
no means assured, and the archdeacon laid himself open by his 
proceedings to the charge of stirring up the embers of a strife 
which had only just been composed.^^ Gwenwynwyn was still 
regarded as the friend of the English, too friendly to give much 
encouragement to Giraldus in his patriotic crusade. ^^ But after 

'^^Rot. Chart. (Poitiers, 3rd Dec). ^^ Ibid. 44 (Worcester, nth April). 
^^Ibid. 100 (Stow, 13th Jan.). 

18 Ibid. 103 (Westminster, 3rd April). The safe-conduct was to hold good 
until 6th May. 

^"^ Ibid. 103-4 (Cirencester, 2nd May). ^^Rymer, i. 84; Rot. Pat. i, 8-g. 

1^ Gir. Camb. iii. 196, 200, 206. ^^ Ibid. 226. 



CHAP, the encounter of the two princes in the summer of 1202, the 


zeal of the prince of Powys visibly waxed fainter ; under the 
influence, it may be, of the persuasion of Llywelyn, he inclined 
once more to the old role of firebrand of the marches, and at 
the end of the year attacked the lands of William de Breos.^^ 
In 1 204 John was once more in England, after an absence of 
more than two years ; the time had arrived when Llywelyn 
must make good his undertaking as to the render of homage. 
There was a little delay at first,'^^ but in the course of the 
summer he seems not only to have discharged this obligation, 
but also to have formed a close tie with the king by obtaining 
a promise of the hand of his natural daughter Joan.'-'^ An alli- 
ance of this kind had been formed by his uncle David and had 
proved of very great service to him ; 2* it chanced that by the 
death of David in 1203 2^ the castle and manor of Ellesmere, 
given to him as a marriage gift by Henry II., had again come 
into the possession of the crown,2^ and nothing could be more 
natural than that in the spring of 1205, when this new marriage 
probably took place,^^ Llywelyn should receive from the king 
as a sign of goodwill these lands which had for so long been 

» Rot. Pat. i. 23 (Alen9on, i8th Jan. [1203]). 

^^ See Rot. Pat. i. 39 (Worcester, i6th March), 40. 

2s Llywelyn, Madog ap Gruffydd (of Northern Powys) and their companions 
were expected to meet John at Worcester about ist September {Rot. Pat. i. 44 — 
Windsor, 29th July) and probably did so. There is no trustworthy evidence as 
to Joan's mother, but one may accept the statement of Ann. Cest. s.a. 1204, that 
she was " filiam . . . nocham," i.e., noiham. The promise of her hand had been 
made by the king before 15th October, 1204 {Rot. Claus. i. 12). 

24 See p. 551. 

2SB.T. 258. Cf. "O Oes Gwrtheyrn " (Brw^j, 406; Comment. (2), 158), 
where the event is (wrongly) dated one year after 1200 and (rightly) five years 
before 1208. 

26 On loth April, 1200, John had taken " Emmam uxorem David filii Oeni " 
under his protection, especially in respect of proceedings touching her manors of 
Ellesmere and Hales[owen] {Rot. Chart, i. 44). In May, 1203, he bids the 
justiciar find for David's widow an equivalent as far as possible from the marches 
for the castle of Ellesmere {Rot. regn. jfoh. 36). On 2nd August John repeats 
his wish to have the castle in his own hands, and says other provision must be 
made for David's son Owen (Audoen) — see ibid. 56. In Oct. 1204 he proposes 
to give him thirteen librates in Elmdon, Warwickshire {Rot. Claus. i. 12) and in 
Nov. 1205 fifteen in Waltham, near Grimsby (tit^f. 56). Emma still held Hales in 
1212 {Testa de Nevill, 56). 

2" Ann. Cest. date it 1204, but assign to the same year the Portsmouth 
assembly of June, 1205. Ann. Wigorti. and Reg. Conway mention it under 
1206, which is less likely to be the true year. 


held by a scion of the house of Gwynedd.'^^ It had seemed CHAP 
likely during the previous five or six years that the Northern ^^^^• 
prince would find a wife in a very different quarter, for he had 
been negotiating with Pope Innocent III. for leave to marry a 
daughter of Reginald, king of Man, wedded as a child to his 
uncle, Rhodri.^^ In April, 1203, the requisite papal authority 
had been obtained, but the Manx alliance was not concluded 
when the specially advantageous match with the daughter of 
his overlord presented itself to Llywelyn as the more attractive 

While the king had thus been craftily balancing Llywelyn 
and Gwenwynwyn against each other in the North, his policy 
in South Wales was not dissimilar. Here his opportunity was 
provided for him by the incurable rivalries of the sons and 
grandsons of the Lord Rhys. It has already been shown that, 
on the death of the veteran leader of the South in 1 1 97, Gruff- 
ydd was recognised as his father's heir in respect of Dinefwr 
and Cantref Mawr, but was soon afterwards captured by his 
brother Maelgwn, who was acting in concert with Gwenwynwyn. 
The defeat of the latter at Painscastle in 1 198 brought about 
another turn of the wheel of fortune ; Gruffydd was set free 
and restored to his lands, to embark upon a struggle with 
Maelgwn, in which for a while he was very successful. Before 
the end of the year, he had won from his rival all Ceredigion,^'* 
except the castles of Cardigan and Ystrad Meurig, and in 1 199 
he captured the castle of Cilgerran, commanding the cantref 
of Emlyn. Against this Maelgwn had nothing to set, save a 
solitary triumph at Dineirth in Ceredigion ; he saw his power 
fast slipping from him, and in his extremity he turned to John. 

2* On 23rd March, 1205, the keeper of Ellcsmere Castle was ordered to hand 
it over to Llywelyn (Rot. Pat. i. 51). C/. Rot. Claus. i. 23. The formal gift in 
frank marriage followed on i6th April {Rot. Chart, i. 147). 

'^^ The three letters of Innocent III. which deal with this business will be 
found in Migne's Patrologia (series Latina, ccxiv. 791 [25th Nov. 1199] ; ccxv. 
49 [20th April, 1203], 534 [17th Feb. 1205]. Cf. Papal Letters, i. 8, 13, 19). The 
patruus is not named, but must clearly be Rhodri, whose alliance with the sons 
of Godred of Man is mentioned by B. Saes. s.a. 1193. He was married in 1188 
to a daughter of the Lord Rhys (Gir. Camb. vi. 126-7), but may have put her 
away or lost her by death before 1193. With equal certainty the "princeps in- 
sularum " may be taken to be Reginald, who had become king of Man in 1188. 

»° On 22nd Jan. 1198 Maelgwn had confirmed to Strata Florida all his 
father's donations. Rhys Gryg was at the time with him {Str. Flor. xiv.). 


CHAP. On 3rd December, 11 99, the king by charter conferred upon 
' him the four cantrefs of Ceredigion and that of Emlyn, on 
condition that he would resign to the crown the castle of Cardi- 
gan and the adjoining commote of Is Hirwen.^^ A few months 
later the transfer was effected ; ^^ thus did Maelgwn, in the 
language of the patriotic chronicler, " choose rather to share 
with the enemy than with his brother, and sell to the king the 
castle of Aberteifi for a little weight of gold and the curses of 
all the clergy and lay folk of Wales ".^s The " Key of Wales," 
as it is elsewhere termed,^* was again placed in English hands, 
and the king, moreover, made a good friend upon whom he 
could rely for defence of the royal interests in Deheubarth. 

During the next few years the hand of death fell heavily 
upon the sons of the Lord Rhys. On 2nd July, 1 201, Maredudd 
ap Rhys, who was lord of Cantref Bychan and its castle 
of Llandovery, was killed in the commote of Carnwyllion by 
the followers of William of London, lord of Kidwelly.^'' His 
brother Gruffydd at once took possession of his lands, but in 
less than a month was seized with illness and on 25th July 
died, leaving by his wife Matilda two young sons, named Rhys 
and Owain.^'' In 1204 Hywel Sais was treacherously wounded 
in Cemais by the men of his brother Maelgwn, and not long 
afterwards found a grave in the quiet precincts of Strata 
Florida.^' By these events Maelgwn was more than ever 

3^ Rot. Chart. \. 63. The name of the "camao" (commote) is given in the 
letter of 1200 as " Bisbirwern," for " Hishirwern ". Strictly speaking, Is Hirwen 
was a half-commote, the river Hirwen, which flows into the Teifi at Pont Ystrad, 
dividing the commote of Iscoed into two parts. 

^^ Rot. Chart, i. 44 (nth April, Worcester) probably marks the completion of 
the transaction. 

^ Ann. Catnb. MS. B. s.a. 1200. 

3* " Allwed hoU Kymry " is the true reading oiB.T. — see Mostjm MS. 116, 
as cited by Evans, Rep. i. p. 61. 

^^ Ann. Camb. (B. gives the day); B.T. 256. Maredudd was buried at 

36 Gruffydd was buried at Strata Florida ; so also Matilda, who died on 29th 
December, 1210, at Llanbadarn Fawr (B.T. 266). 

3^ The death of Hywel Sais furnishes one of the few cases in which there is 
an irreconcilable divergence between Ann. C. and B.T. One can but adopt the 
account which seems most probable, and in this case I have rejected the testimony 
of the former (MS. B. s.a. 1199) for that of the latter, on the ground that the 
reference to a visit to the court of King John " erga Pascha " in this year creates 
suspicion. John did not reach England until Ascensiontide, when he was 


brought to the forefront of affairs; in 1201, on Gruffydd's CHAP. 


death, he recovered Cilgerran and now began to aspire to rule 
in Ystrad Tywi ; in 1203 he invited the aid of his old ally, 
Gw^enwynwyn, and with his help seized Dinefwr in Cantref 
Mawr and Llandovery and Llangadock in Cantref Bychan, to 
the exclusion of his nephews, Rhys and Owain ap Gruffydd.^^ 
This was the climax of his power ; in the following year he 
was driven from Ystrad Tywi by a compact between his 
nephews and Rhys Gryg, under which the former took Cantref 
Bychan and the latter Cantref Mawr as their respective shares 
of the spoil won from him. He was beginning to suffer from 
the turn of events in the North, where his friend Gwenwynwyn 
was being eclipsed in the favour of both English and Welsh 
by Llywelyn.^^ It was another serious blow to Maelgwn when 
in this year 1204 William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, paid a 
visit to his lands in Dyfed and vindicated his claim to the lord- 
ship of Emlyn by a successful assault upon Cilgerran.**' Mael- 
gwn was now reduced to the position of lord of Ceredigion 
once more. 

The uneasy relations between John and Gwenwynwyn 
came to a head in 1208, when the prince of Powys felt the 
full weight of his sovereign's displeasure. Important events 
had paved the way for the rupture. The persistent refusal of 
the king to recognise Stephen Langton as Archbishop of 
Canterbury had at last drawn from the papal armoury the 
formidable weapon of an interdict ; on Sunday, 23rd March, in 
this year,*^ all religious services throughout England and Wales 

='* In 1202 Rhys had confirmed to Strata Florida all earlier donations in a 
charter stated to be his first, when as yet he had no seal, and witnessed by his 
mother, Matilda {Str. Flor. xv). He had at the end of this year Llandovery, if 
not Dine^r {B.T.). 

^^ In August, 1204, when Gwenwynwyn was asked to meet the king at 
Woodstock, it was requested that he should, if possible, bring Maelgwn with him 
" ad loquendum nobiscum " {Rot. Pat. i. 45). In December the Earl of Chester 
incurred the king's displeasure by giving his countenance to Gwenwynwyn {Rot. 
Claus. i. 16) and about this time the prince of Pov^^ys was for a while deprived of 
his manor of Ashford {ibid. 24). 

■*" Under Henry II. Emlyn had been regarded as belonging to the Carew 
family (see p. 542), but on i6th April, 1200, John granted to Earl William 
" Wilfrey " and " Oistrelef," i.e., Efelffre and Ystlwyf (for which see ibid.), 
" donee ei deliberaverimus terram suam de Emelin " {Rot. Chart. 47). William 
arrived in England in May, 1204. 

"This is the date given by Ann. C. MS. C. and Ann. Marg. Other 
authorities mention Monday, the 24th. An undated letter in the Papal Registers 
specially orders that Wales shall not be regarded as exempt {Papal Letters, i. 30). 


CHAP, were discontinued at the bidding of Innocent and no sacra- 
^^^^* ments save baptism and extreme unction were allowed to be 
administered. John's reply was simple — to confiscate all 
clerical and monastic property as forfeited by the failure to 
perform the duties attached to it, and for the next five years 
he had wealth in abundance out of which to pay mercenary 
troops and keep his enemies in subjection. He struck without 
hesitation at all who had aroused his suspicion or dislike, and 
among the first singled out for attack was the great baron of 
the march, lord of Radnor, Builth, Brecknock, Upper Gwent 
and Gower, who had been for thirty years the leading figure in 
Norman South Wales. At the beginning of the reign William 
de Breos had received the king's license to conquer all he 
could from the Welsh ; ^^ in 1 202 John had entrusted to him, 
with praise of his faithful service, the custody of his lands and 
castles in Glamorgan, Gwynllwg, and Gower. '^^ In 1203 he 
had bestowed Gower upon him and his heirs, to be held by the 
service of one knight"** Matters now wore a very different 
aspect Early in 1 207 William was ordered to give up Gla- 
morgan and Gwynllwg to Falkes of Breaut6,*^ a foreign ad- 
venturer high in the king's favour, and in the spring of the 
following year John was so dissatisfied with his erstwhile 
honoured lieutenant as to require him to surrender all his 
lands in England and Wales in pledge for the payment of 
his heavy debts to the crown.*** From this blow William 
never recovered ; the efforts made by him and his sons William 
and Reginald to oppose force to the king's decree proved 
futile, and in their despair they fled to Ireland. 

Among those who benefited by the fall of the great 

'^'^Rot. Chart, i. 66 (Caen, 3rd June, 1200); Cartae Glatn. iii. 177 (from a 
late transcript). 

*^ Rot. Pat. i. 19 (Domfront, 23rd Oct. 1202). When John had secured in 
1200 the dissolution of his marriage with Isabella of Gloucester, he had not re- 
signed the lands he held in virtue of the union. When, however, in 1214 she 
married Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, he relaxed his hold, and on 
26th January ordered his bailiff, Falkes of Breaute, to give the earl possession 
of the honour of Glamorgan (Rot. Pat. i. 109). 

**The charter, dated Rouen, 24th February, 1203, is printed by Clark (Cartae 
Glatn. iii. 234-5) froi" the Breviate of Domesday (K.R. miscellaneous books i.), 
P- 475. 

*^Rot. Pat. i. 68 ; Cartae Giant, i. 52. 

*^A full account of the circumstances which led to the fall of William is 
given by John in the document printed in Rymcr, i. 107-8. C/. also Norgate, 
yohn Lackland, pp. 146-52, 287-8. 


marcher lord was Peter fitz Herbert, a constant companion of CHAP, 
the king, who now received a third part of the lordship of 
Brecknock, with the castle of Blaen Llyfni.*''^ Gwenwynwyn 
deemed the opportunity a favourable one for reviving his old 
scheme of conquest in Mid Wales, and began to ravage the 
lands of the new lord. He soon discovered his mistake. 
John promptly took notice of the aggression, bade the marchers 
give their aid to Peter,^^ and when the prince of Powys, over- 
awed by these measures, came to Shrewsbury on 8th October 
to sue for peace, refused to let him return. The price of 
Gwenwynwyn's liberty was to be the render of twenty hostages, 
and meanwhile all his lands were to be taken into the custody 
of the crown.*^ 

There followed an unexpected result, though it might 
without difficulty have been foreseen. Llywelyn seized this 
favourable moment for the execution of the design from which 
he had turned aside in 1202. He marched upon Southern 
Powys and straightway took possession of the whole country. 
His sudden appearance in Arwystli and Cyfeiliog at once pro- 
duced a commotion in South Wales. Maelgwn, whose line of 
action had always been to support the now vanquished Gwen- 
wynwyn, saw himself seriously threatened in Ceredigion, and, as 
a measure of defence, dismantled the castles of Aberystwyth, 
Ystrad Meurig, and Dineirth, which if captured might enable an 
invader to hold the north of the province against him. Never- 
theless, Llywelyn was not diverted from his purpose ; he occu- 
pied the province as far as the Ystwyth, rebuilt the castle of 
Aberystwyth, and handed over the district between the Ystwyth 
and the Aeron to the sons of Grufifydd ap Rhys. The young 
Rhys and Owain, established since 1204 in Cantref Bychan, 
had of late been hard pressed by their neighbour, Rhys Gryg, 
who had just destroyed their castle of Llangadock,^" but they 
had now a powerful patron and defender. 

^'^ Peter appears frequently in the Charter, Patent, and Close Rolls from 1204 
to the end of the reign, and Wendover mentions him (iii. 238) among the evil 
counsellors of John. He was the son of Herbert fitz Herbert (Madox, Baronia 
Anglica, 232-3) and Lucy of Hereford (Rot. Clans, i. 296). 

*»Rot. Pat. i. 86 (GiUingham, 29th Sept.). 

^' For the terms of the " conventio " see Rymer, i. loi. B.T. has dropped 
the year 1207 and is accordingly a year behindhand from this point to 1212. 

^° So B.T. 262. According to Ann. C. MS. B. the castle taken was that 
of "luchewein," and the deed had been done before, in 1206 (the entry follows 


CHAP. These proceedings were of a kind to excite some concern at 
^^^^' the king's court, where it was not desired to make Llywelyn 
too powerful. But John still regarded him with a favourable 
eye, notwithstanding his bold and independent action. On 
Christmas Day he wrote, in answer to a letter from Llywelyn, 
to say he would overlook all that had been done to the injury 
of Gwenwynwyn and treat the prince as a good son once 
more, if he would perform certain promises made in the letter. ^^ 
What these were can only be conjectured, but it is certain that 
during 1209 Llywelyn and the king continued to be on excel- 
lent terms. They may possibly have met in the spring ; ^^ 
later in the year the prince of Gwynedd gave the fullest proof 
of his loyalty to his father-in-law by joining, with a con- 
tingent of his men, the expedition led by John against 
William of Scotland.*^ Accompanied by Hywel ap Gruffydd 
who held Meirionydd as his vassal, Gwyn ab Ednywain, his 
" distain " or seneschal,** and Ystrwyth, his clerk and mes- 
senger,** he was at Newcastle at the end of July, and on 

the notice as to John's expedition to Poitou). These two notices possibly refer 
to a castle at Llwch (or Llech) Owain (the llwchewin of Mab. 139), a lake in the 
southern part of the parish of Llanarthney (commote of Iscennen). There is an 
entrenchment here known as Castell y Garreg. 

»i Rot. Pat. i. 88 (Bristol, 25th Dec. ) ; Rymer, i. 102. On 21st January 
i2og, the knights of the Earl of Chester were told they must serve the earl in the 
campaign he was organising " super inimicos nostros de Wallia pro excessibus 
Lewelini" (Rot. Pat. ibid.), but this was probably a mere measure of pre- 
caution, for on 29th January, at Shrewsbury, a safe-conduct was issued to 
Llywelyn (gi). 

*2 See the safe-conduct of i6th March (Rot. Pat. i. 89), which proposes a 
meeting at Northampton on the 29th. 

5* This is asserted by " O Oes Gwrtheyrn " (Comment. (2), 159 ; in Bruts, 406 
" ruuein " is for " prydein "), and the statement is confirmed by entries in the 
Misae Roll of 11 John (Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 136). 

54 u Weno senescallo suo " (Rot. regn. Joh. 126). " Gwyn filius Eduyweyn 
senescallus noster," witnesses Llywelyn's charter to Cymer, dated in this year 
1209 (Rec. Cam. 201). He was of Eifionydd (Rec. Cam. 39, 40) and also appears 
in 1 198 (ibid. 148). The " distain " or steward was the chief officer of the royal 
household (Ven. I. vii. i) and held his position by hereditary right (Ven. II. xi. 
33, " tir ebo suyd ohonau mal . . . disteiniat "). 

^■^ " Magister Ostrucius" appears as an envoy of Llywelyn as early as 
August, 1204. He received from the king, first a pension of £5 (Rot. Claus. i. 10, 
II, 43), then a prebend in Ellesmere Church (60), and finally in February, 1209, 
the crown living of Salkeld in the diocese of Carlisle (Rot. Pat. i. 8g). He had 
been in December the bearer of a letter from Llywelyn to the king (ibtd. 88), and 
at Norham he transacted the prince's business for him (Rot. regn. jfoh. 125, 126), 
He was a witness to the Cymer charter as " magister Strwyth " (Rec. Cam. 201), 
and was still alive in 1222 (Owen, Cat. 357 — " magistro Estruit "). 


4th August took his place in the serried ranks of the host CHAP, 
which at Norham forced the Scotch king to a peace. Gwen- 
wynwyn was meanwhile living in pitiful dependence upon the 
royal bounty.^® Llywelyn was no doubt one of the Welsh 
chiefs who did homage at Woodstock in October,^^ and in 
January, 1210, a gift of falcons sent to him by the king bore 
witness to the fact that he was still in the sunshine of the 
royal favour. ^^ 

Thus far Llywelyn had maintained himself in power by 
the skill and address with which he had steered his bark amid 
the troubled currents of his time. He had promptly seized 
every opportunity of extending the limits of his rule, while at 
the same time carefully watching the temper of John and 
guarding himself from any step which might permanently 
alienate him. He was now to be subjected to a severer test, 
to show how he could comport himself in adversity, when 
he had to bear the full force of the king's displeasure. A 
thundercloud was gathering overhead, which was soon to burst 
upon him in all its fury. The dexterous steersman was to 
appear in a new light and to prove his fortitude by weathering 
the blackest and most desperate of hurricanes. 

n. The Fight for the Freedom of St. David's. 

(Nearly all that is known of this subject comes from the works of Gir. him- 
self and especially from De Rebus (which, however, breaks off, in the one extant 
MS., at the end of 1199) and Men. Eccl. The documents are conveniently 
arranged, with many notes, in H. and St. i. 394-452 ; for summaries of the course 
of the struggle see Jones and Freem, 286-94 ! Newell, History of the Welsh 
Church, chap. viii. ; Owen, Gerald the Welshman, chap, iii.) 

It was not only in the domain of civil life that the Welsh 
spirit of independence showed itself at this time ; it found ex- 
pression also, as had often been the case before, in ecclesiastical 

^*^Se& Rot.regn.Joh. iii, 116, 129, 133, 136, 141, 142, 152 (May, 1209- 
Jan. 1210). 

•''"The incident is mentioned in Ami. S. Edm. s.a. and Wendover, iii. 227. 
There is nothing in the statement of the latter as to its novelty ; homage had 
been done by the Welsh at this very place in 1163 (p. 513) and fealty sworn at 
Geddington in Northamptonshire in 1177 (p. 552). John was at Woodstock 
from i6th to 19th October ; he also passed through it on his way westward on 
25th November, but the circumstances of the earlier visit are much more suggestive 
of a fixed meeting. 

^* Rot. regit, jfoh. 145. 


CHAP, affairs. From 1198 to 1203 a determined battle was fought 
^^"' against the see of Canterbury, notwithstanding that it was 
backed by the power of the English crown, in order to win 
recognition of the metropolitan position of St. David's, The 
story has been told, with great particularity and no lack of 
pungent comment, by the principal actor in it, the unsuccessful 
aspirant to the vacant bishopric, Giraldus Cambrensis, and it 
may, on this account, fill a somewhat larger space in the his- 
tory of the period than in a strict view of proportion rightfully 
belongs to it. But, though the struggle had no lasting results, 
and may even have been less interesting to Wales at large 
than Giraldus in his vanity would have us believe, yet it 
deserves notice as a remarkable attempt to realise a patriotic 
ideal, and one which, though it failed to achieve its immediate 
object, nevertheless bore fruit in other ways. 

The archdeacon had, in 1 196,^^ abandoned the service of the 
crown because he despaired of receiving any adequate reward,®'* 
and had betaken himself to Lincoln to study theology.*'^ It 
was here he heard of the death of Bishop Peter on i6th July, 
1 198,®^ opening once more for him the door of hope which had 
been closed against him in 1 176. His prospects were certainly 
better on this than on the previous occasion. He had with 
advancing years gained in experience and reputation ; he 
might hope that his diplomatic labours would be remembered 
in his favour by the king and his advisers. There was a sub- 
— ' stantial Welsh majority in the chapter,®^ which was quite pre- 
pared to push the claims of a native candidate. But Giraldus 
had throughout to contend with two main difficulties of the most 
formidable kind, so serious, in fact, that nothing but his indom- 
itable spirit and unquenchable energy could have prolonged 
the struggle for the five years during which it was kept alive. 
In the first place, there were among the Welsh canons two 

^* For this date see Gir. v. pref. liii, note 2. 

^o He speaks in De Rebus, iii. i (i. 89) of " indignas nee iuxta merita pro- 
motiones ". 

^^ i. 93. The second edition of the Itinerary, with the dedication to Bishop 
Hugh, belongs to the period of residence at Lincoln. 

^^ Gir. speaks vaguely (" quasi in principio autumni "), but see A}tn. Theo- 
kesb. for the precise day. 

"* In iv. 147 it is estimated at two-thirds. On another occasion (iii, 19) Gir. 
makes it out to be little more than a bare majority. 


opposing parties, two family groups, in fact,^* and, while the CHAP, 
descendants of Jonas were supporters of Giraldus, the descend- 
ants of John had a candidate of their own in Abbot Peter of 
Whitland,^^ who was one of their number, born in the cathe- 
dral city itself. In the second place, Archbishop Hubert fully 
realised the danger of allowing the dispute as to the rights of 
the see to pass, by the election of Giraldus as bishop, into the 
hands of a man so able and determined, so well fitted by the 
extent of his family influence, also, to make it a really formid- 
able question. With the rough persistence which was char- 
acteristic of him, he never rested until the archdeacon had 
been vanquished without hope of recovery. 

The first stage through which the matter passed was one of 
negotiation between the chapter and the archbishop. The 
former resolved to submit four names for consideration ; they 
would accept, they said, Giraldus, Abbot Peter, the Abbot of 
St. Dogmael's, or Reginald Foliot, a young relative of the last 
bishop. To none of these would Hubert agree ; he was bent 
on the appointment of a man without local connections, and 
offered them their choice of a Cistercian abbot named Alex- 
ander and Geoffrey, prior of Llantony. This uncompromising 
attitude greatly helped the cause of Giraldus ; in their deter- 
mination to fight the archbishop the chapter turned to him as 
the man marked out by fortune to be the champion of their 
rights, summoned him to their aid from his studious retreat at 
Lincoln, and early in 1199 were encouraged by him to appeal 
from the archbishop and the justiciar to the king. Before this 
could be done Richard had died, and a further delay resulted 
from the necessity of submitting the matter afresh to a new 
king, at a time when he was engrossed in more weighty cares. 
Giraldus had at first some hope of gaining the goodwill of 
John, who had known him for years and had in 1 192 offered 

*''iii. 312, Robert son of Jonas was very old at the time of the dispute (i. 
164), having a son Henry among the canons (iii. 214), so that Jonas must have 
flourished about 1150. " Magister Johannes iuvenis " was a canon in 1176 (i. 
158) and was probably the son of the "magister Johannes canonicus de Sancto 
David " who witnessed a Brecon charter of ii48-55( Arch. Camb., IV. xiv. [1883], 


8" For the connections of Peter see iii. 34, 219-20, 299. He was said to be 
illegitimate, being perhaps the fruit of a clerical marriage (iii. 299-300). 


CHAP, him the bishopric of Llandafif.^ But the influence of the 
■ archbishop was too powerful, and no declaration in favour of the 
archdeacon could be obtained from the king during his brief 
visit to England for the coronation. The chapter now made 
up their minds to act decisively, and on 29th June ^"^ Giraldus 
was elected at St. David's, in spite of the opposition of-^he 
government. It was in vain that the primate threatened to 
consecrate the prior of Llantony, whether he were elected or 
no ; the canons were for the moment bent upon a course of 
defiance, and it was resolved that the bishop-elect should carry 
the case to the supreme tribunal of the church at Rome. At 
the end of November, Giraldus was in the holy city, ready to 
plead his cause before the pope of the day, the astute and 
masterful Innocent III. 

It was inevitable that with the question of the claim of 
Giraldus to have been duly elected bishop the larger issue of 
the independence of the see should be brought to the front 
once more."^ Indeed, it is doubtful whether the mere bishopric, 
shorn of the dignity with which it was sought to invest it, 
would have had much attraction for Giraldus ; it was not well 
endowed ^^ and the title of bishop had in itself no fascination 
for him.^*^ The matter was, however, adroitly placed on the 
broadest national footing ; stress was laid on the way in which 
the spiritual authority of Canterbury was used by primate after 
primate to further the merely temporal ends of the English 
crown. Welsh insurgents were liable not only to the ordinary 
penalties of defeat, but also to those of excommunication, while 
the Welsh Church was held in bondage, the free choice of its 
canonical electors overridden and unfit bishops forced upon it, 
as part of the purely political campaign against Welsh national 
aspirations.^^ Archbishop Hubert was, indeed, at no pains to 

"^ i. 87, 139. The see was vacant through the death of William of Salt- 
marsh in iigi and was filled by the consecration of Henry, prior of Abergavenny, 
on i2th December, 1193. 

^''i. Ill ; iii. 191. 

••^ For this question see pp. 480-2 and note to chap. xiii. § 3. 

®8 According to Gir. iii. 133, 344, the fixed income was no more than twenty 
marks. In Tax. Nich. 274, the bishop's prebend is valued at ;^20, but he had 
also temporal possessions yielding £10^ 17s. per annum (277). 

■"> In i. 139, Gir. says he refused two bishoprics {i.e., Bangor and Llandaif) in 
Wales and four in Ireland. 

71 See the letter of the Welsh princes, no doubt drafted by Giraldus himself, 
in iii. 244-6. 



throw a veil over this part of his case ; it was precisely in order CHAP 
to keep the Welsh under control by ecclesiastical censures that 
he deemed it necessary, he told the pope, to resist with all his 
power the designs of the archdeacon/^ Little wonder, then, 
that Giraldus was able to secure the countenance and support 
of the princes of Wales, even those who, like Llywelyn, had 
no interest in exalting the see of Deheubarth above the remain- 
ing three. ''^ In nothing does the statesmanship of the prince 
of Gwynedd appear more strikingly than in this advocacy of 
the St. David's claim ; he was well aware that, in view of the 
forces arrayed against it, it would probably fail, but as an ex- 
perienced politician he knew the value of a strenuous protest 
and held that Giraldus had by his brave, though ineffectual, 
resistance done genuine service to the Welsh national cause. '^^ 
At Rome there was every disposition to listen to the Welsh 
case. The jurisdiction of the papal court as the highest tri- 
bunal in all church matters was a valuable asset for the papacy, 
and every encouragement was given to litigants to avail them- 
selves of it. About the question of the status of the see there 
was, at first, some hesitation, but Giraldus was soon able to 
convince the pope that there was a case for discussion and that 
this was not by any means the first occasion on which it had 
been submitted to the arbitrament of the holy see. The arch- 
bishop's defence was hardly serious ; to the election of Giraldus 
in June he opposed the election of Abbot Walter of St. Dog- 
mael's in December, and thus laid himself open to the charge 
of having forced a second choice on the electors while the 
appeal to Rome was still pending as to the lawfulness of the 
first. Thus Giraldus was able to obtain some important con- 
cessions ; in May, 1200, a commission of English bishops was 
appointed by the pope to report upon the question of status 
and that of the election, while the administration of the see 
was meanwhile committed to the indefatigable archdeacon. 

"iii. 15. 

^^ The names prefixed to the letter are those of Llywelyn, Gwenwynwyn, 
Madog [ap Gruffydd], and the four sons of Rhys, Gruffydd, Maelgwn, Maredudd 
and Rhys (iii. 244). Though connected by Gir. with his third visit to Rome, the 
document must have been prepared before July, 1201, when Maredudd and Gruffydd 
died. Probably it belongs to the first visit, since Innocent's letter of 5th May» 
1200 (iii. 62-3) looks like an answer to it. 

"'^ See his views as expressed at a banquet of hiei magnates in iii. 209. 


CHAP. When Giraldus returned to Wales, he found that what he 

^^^^* had won at Rome was counterbalanced by what, during his 
absence, he had lost at St. David's. The archbishop had real- 
ised his mistake in peremptorily rejecting all the candidates 
of the chapter, and now saw that the right policy was to ex- 
ploit the internal feuds of this body. For the moment his 
favourite was the abbot of St. Dogmael's, and, as Walter was 
notoriously illiterate and unfit for the episcopal dignity,^^ Peter 
of Whitland and his clan were won over by the prospect of an 
impasse which might finally turn out to their advantage. '^*^ 
Thus Giraldus had not only to cope with the continued hostility 
of the crown,^^ but also with that of a majority of the chapter ; 
he was hampered in the exercise of his duties as administrator 
by Abbot Walter, who on his election in December, 1 199, had 
been put into possession of the temporalities of the see.^^ 
There was nothing he could do but hunt up more documents 
in support of the primacy of St. David's and return to Rome 
for the formal hearing of the case, fixed for 4th March, 120 1. 
By this time the representative of the archbishop at the 
papal court had a more plausible tale to tell. Realising that 
Innocent meant business, he put forward the plea that the 
December election was merely a confirmation of one which 
had taken place as early as 7th January, 1199, when Hubert, 
having full authority for the act from the chapter, chose the 
abbot of St. Dogmael's. It was thus sought to deprive Giral- 
dus of the important advantage he enjoyed in these proceedings 
as the candidate first elected. For so skilful a controversialist 
it was easy to pick holes in this argument, with which the 
whole action of the archbishop in the course of the year 11 99 
was inconsistent, but, instead of rejecting it, the court preferred 
delay and fixed 1st November, 1202, for the re-trial of the 

■'■'' Giraldus reported him to be " quasi penitus idiota," and there was enough 
substance in the allegation to induce Innocent to order an examination into his 
qualifications (iii. 68-9). Walter significantly declined the test (iii. 234). 

''•'The situation is explained in iii. 198. 

''' On 13th January, 1201, John sent two messengers to signify to the chapter 
and to the clergy of the diocese that he had not assented and did not then assent 
to the election of the Archdeacon of Brecknock (Rot. Chart, i. 100). For other 
expressions of the king's displeasure see Rot. Pat. i. 3 (17th Dec. 1201), ibid. 7 
(8th March, 1202), ibid. 9 (loth April, 1202), ibid. 34 (nth Sept. 1203). 

■'s iii. 259. Before Hubert's change of policy, they had been held by the 
prior of Llantony. 



whole matter, the interval to be devoted to the collection of CHAP, 
evidence. In the meantime, the pope continued to give his ^^"* 
powerful protection to Giraldus, who was sent away at the end 
of July with letters confirming him in his office of administrator 
and requiring the archbishop to pay half the expenses of the 
suit. It was well that Innocent still befriended him, for on his 
re-appearance in this country he found the hostile forces arrayed 
against him more resolute than ever. The Welsh princes had 
not deserted his cause ; Maelgwn and Rhys Gryg did what 
was possible for him in the south,^^ Llywelyn was a warm sup- 
porter in the north,^'* and even Gwenwynwyn hospitably 
received him, while unwilling to sanction a collection on his 
behalf ^^ At St. David's the Jonas party still upheld his claim,^^ 
but the rest of the chapter was unfriendly and would not even 
support him on the archbishopric question, so unwilling were 
they to yield him any assistance. Throughout England the 
power of the crown was used to the utmost against him, so 
that even sympathisers like the bishops of Ely and Worcester ^^ 
and William fitz Alan ^* could do little for him. He spent the 
year 1 202 in weary journeys to interview friends, to checkmate 
enemies and to satisfy commissions, and got out of the country, 
not without difficulty, in time to appear for the third time at 
Rome in January, 1203. On the way thither he called at 
Clairvaux and Citeaux and dealt retribution to a most persist- 
ent foe by procuring the deposition of Abbot Peter. 

The long duel was now drawing to its inevitable close. 
During Lent the case was fully argued before the pope, and 
evidence adduced, which Giraldus held to be perjured and cor- 
rupt, in favour of the January election of Walter. Innocent 

■"iii. 197. 

*" Giraldus was in Gwynedd at Christmastide, 1201 (see heads of lost chapters 
oiDe Rebus in i. 10), and was followed to St. David's by the special envoy of 
Llywelyn, Laurence, prior of Bardsey (iii. 197). Llywelyn also saw him in August 
and, " ut erat vir liberalis et lenis," afforded him every help (iii. 226). 

*^ iii. 226. 

*2 The party of Giraldus included in April, 1202, Pontius, Archdeacon of St. 
David's, Robert son of Jonas, his son Henry (the one resident canon who was 
loyal to the end — iii. 316), and Meilyr (iii. 214). 

** Eustace, bishop of Ely from 1198 to 1215, had known Giraldus in his 
student days at Paris (iii. 232). He was much in request as a papal commissioner. 
Mauger, bishop of Worcester from 1200 to 1212, was also a friend of the arch- 
deacon's (ibid.), perhaps for the same reason. 

^* iii. 227. 
VOL. II. 1 8 


CHAP, made no difficulty about accepting it ; it was no part of his 
^^^^' policy to offend so influential a prelate as Hubert, and the right 
solution of the question appeared to him to be the quashing of 
both elections, that of the abbot on the ground that the 
archbishop was not properly authorised to elect, that of the 
archdeacon on the ground that it took place while the legality 
of the other was as yet undetermined. This decision, an- 
nounced on 1 5 th April, was entirely satisfactory to the opposi- 
tion, who cared nothing for Walter and only desired to be rid of 
Giraldus. But, short of conceding his claim, the pope was 
disposed to do much for the man who had so valiantly fought 
the battle of his church and his own and whose racy talk and 
naive egotism had interested and diverted him. Papal letters 
were issued securing him against vindictive proceedings, en- 
trusting the control of the new election to his friends, the 
bishops of Worcester and Ely,^^ and — best of all — appointing 
a commission from the province of York to go into the still 
unsettled question of subjection to Canterbury. ^^ 

Nevertheless, the cause for which Giraldus had done battle 
was hopelessly lost. When he arrived in England in August 
he was able to prevent the elevation to the vacant see of the 
young canon, Reginald Foliot, who was next put forward by 
the archbishop, but, deserted as he now was by almost the 
whole chapter,^'^ he had himself no prospect of attaining the 
dignity which had been the dream of his life. He decided to 
abandon a campaign which could lead to no useful result and 
concurred in the election in November of the prior of Llan- 
tony. Geoffrey was consecrated on 7th December, 1203, in 
St. Catherine's Chapel, Westminster,^^ having made the usual 
profession of obedience to Canterbury, but having given no 
pledge that he would refrain from raising the question of in- 
dependence.^^ Giraldus, on his part, promised to let this 
question rest during the lifetime of Hubert, made his peace with 

** This letter is to be found in the Papal Registers, which fix the date as 26th 
May (Papal Letters, i. p. 14). 

^^ See Papal Letters, i. p. 14. 

*'' Gir. says that among the laity of Wales he found much loyalty, among 
the clergy scarcely any (iii. 287). 

8Mm«. C. MS. C. ; Ann. Waverl. ; Reg. Sacr. (2), 53. Ann. C. MS. B. 
has 6th December by mistake. 

8* For the form of profession see H. and St. i. 451. 


the archbishop and the king,^'* resigned his archdeaconry to his chap. 
namesake and nephew,^^ and withdrew finally from St. David's ^^^^• 
affairs. The evening of his stormy life was quiet and serene ; 
he renewed his devotion to study and to literature, and in these 
pursuits reached a hoary old age under Henry III.^^ Famous 
fighter, ruthless critic, gifted wielder of the pen though he was, 
no chronicler of the day thought fit to record the year of his 
death.^^ But posterity has taken a juster measure of his 
deserts, and Llywelyn spoke with true foresight when he 
declared that the fight for St. David's would be remembered 
" as long as Wales should stand ".^* 

III. Llywelyn in Conflict with John : Peace of 


Soon after the beginning of the year 12 10, the friendly 
relations between Llywelyn and John, which had never been 
so marked as in the previous year, were suddenly broken off. 
The occasion of this rupture is not easy to determine. The 
year was that of the Irish expedition, undertaken by the king, 
with the help of the revenue he now derived from the bishops' 
lands, in order to assert his authority in the island against the 
more powerful barons, notably the Earl Marshall, Earl Hugh 
of Ulster, his brother Walter Lacy and the fugitive William de 
Breos. Now William was a good deal in Wales and its bor- 
ders during the summer, endeavouring to regain his terri- 
tories,^^ and it is possible that he persuaded the prince of 
Gwynedd to make common cause with him in a hostile move- 

**''In a letter of 5th January, 1204 {Rot. Pat. i. 37), John announces the re- 

'•*! Two Brecon charters of 1204-14 and 1204-8 are attested by " magistro 
Giraldo de Barri et G[iraIdo] archidiacono de Breconia nepote suo " {Arch. 
Camb. III. xiii. [1882], 307; xiv. [1883], 156). 

^^ The closing paragraph of Men. Eccl. (iii. 373) shows he was still writing 
at the age of seventy. 

^^ The likeliest date is 1223 ; for in that year his death was signified to the 
bishop of Lincoln and his Oxfordshire living of Chesterton was filled (Register of 
Bishop Hugh of Lincoln, vol. ii. pp. 9-10). There is no evidence that he was 
buried at St. David's ; the tomb now shown as his is of the fourteenth century 
(Jones and Freem. 122-3). 

®* iii. 209. 

^^ According to the document in Rymer, i. 107-8, in which the king justifies 
his proceedings against the family, William was in Herefordshire about May, at 
Pembroke (where he met the king) in June, and in Herefordshire again in July 
or August. 



CHAP, ment which was to come to a head while John was embroiled 
in Irish affairs. ^^ If this was so, Llywelyn showed something 
less than his usual foresight. For William proved but a 
broken reed, whose resistance to the power of John soon col- 
lapsed, leaving him no alternative but to flee as an outlaw to 
France and abandon his wife Matilda and his eldest son Wil- 
liam to the pitiless vengeance of the hardest heart in Christen- 
dom.^^ It was probably no accidental coincidence that about 
the same time Gwynedd was invaded by forces under the 
command of the Earl of Chester, the justiciar, and the bishop 
of Winchester ; ^^ nor did it avail Llywelyn that in his alarm 
he destroyed his castle of Degannwy ; it was rebuilt by the 
earl with timber which he found not far off, and another castle 
was constructed at Holywell to protect the march.^® 

Meanwhile John's Irish progress had been an uninterrupted 
triumph. He had travelled by the usual South-Welsh route, 
passing through Glamorgan,^"^ where his trusty henchman, 
Falkes of Breaute, was governor for him,'^^ and thence by way 
of Swansea and Haverford to Pembroke, which he reached 
about 3rd June.^"^ Here he was detained, probably by con- 
trary winds, for a fortnight ; about the 1 7th he set sail from 
Milford Haven and landed near Waterford. He spent rather 
more than two months in Ireland, sweeping all before him, 
and arrived at Fishguard on the return journey on 26th Aug- 
ust.^"^ Thence he journeyed by way of Haverford, Kidwelly, 

*^ This would be certain if the " Walensium nonnulli " of the Barnwell 
chronicle (Walt. Cov. ii. 202, s.a. 1210) included Llywelyn. 

^' See Norgate, John Lackland, p. 288. William died in exile in France in 
1211 {Ann. Marg.; Wendover, iii. 237). 

^^ Ann. Dunst. 

^^ B.T, 264. "O Oes Gwrtheyrn " adds the detail " ac a'i cadarnhaodd o 
waith [Cardiff MS. 50 reads " wydh " = timber] Ysgubor y Creuddyn " {Comment. 

(2), 159). 

100 He was at Cardiff on 25th May {Rot. regn. Joh. 170), at Margam on the 
28th {ibid. 172), where the monks entertained him {Ann. Marg.), at Swansea on 
the same day {Rot. 172) and at Haverford on the 31st {ibid.). 

1"! See an entry in Rot. de Prestito {Rot. regn. Joh. 172) of ;^8 6s. gd. 
advanced to Falkes for the king's accommodation " dum fuit in baillivia sua ". 
Falkes had been appointed in February, 1207 {Rot. Pat. i. 68). 

102 From that day to the i6th the king was at " Crucem subter Penbroc " 
(Rot. regn. Joh. 172-7). The situation of this spot is discussed in Owen, Pemb. 
i. 318-19. 

1"^ Rot. r. jf. 228. Ann. C. MS. C. agrees as to the place, but its date (17th 
August) is too early. 


Margam, and Newport to Bristol. This display of unques- chap. 
tioned power had, as was inevitable, a marked influence upon 
the affairs of South Wales. Not content with the overthrow 
of William de Breos, John had brought low during this ex- 
pedition the greatness of another baron of the march, whom 
he had formerly delighted to honour. Robert fitz Richard of 
Haverford was the chief magnate of Rhos, having inherited a 
proud position from his father, Richard fitz Tancard.^''^ Though 
reputed by Giraldus an enemy of the Church,^**^ he had founded 
under the shadow of his castle a priory of Austin canons,^*'^ 
and only a year or two had passed since the king had en- 
trusted to him the keeping of the castle of Cardigan.^'^'' Never- 
theless, for some unknown offence he was now deprived of all 
he had, and in 1 2 1 1 he died an exile in a foreign land.^*^^ An- 
other result of the king's passage through Wales was to give 
fresh vigour to the enemies of Llywelyn, who were now, in the 
altered posture of affairs, in favour once more as the king's 
friends. On 8th September Rhys Gryg, with the help of 
royal troops, attacked Llandovery, which was held for his 
nephews, Rhys and Owain, the close allies of the prince of 
Gwynedd ; the garrison capitulated on terms, and the castle, 
with a number of valuable horses, fell into his hands. About 
the end of November, John restored Gwenwynwyn to his 
dominions in Southern Powys ; Maelgwn at once came to the 
conclusion that his day of recovery had also come, and, having 
come to terms with the king, prepared to eject Rhys and 
Owain from northern Ceredigion. The chronicler of Strata 
Florida,^^^ who was friendly to Llywelyn, records the upshot with 
glee ; the two young princes with 300 chosen warriors, made 
an onslaught by night upon Maelgwn's camp at Cilcennin, 

10* For Richard see chap. xvi. notes 91, 92. The pedigree is established by 
the charter (5 Edvv. III.) printed in Mon. Angl. vi. 444-5. 

i^-^i. 179, 315. He was an adversary of the archdeacon's (iii. 313-4). 

^'^'''Mon. Angl. ut supra. 

^'^'^ Rot. Pat. i. 85 (Higham, 23rd July, 1208). On 17th November, 1207, the 
king had granted Robert his port of Milford at Haverford, a Sunday market, and 
an annual fair at the beginning of May (Rot. Chart, i. 173). 

'^^^ Ann. C. MS. C. s.a. 1210, 1211 ; Gir. Camb. i. 179-80. 

109" Qfiffino fili(o) Cadugan " vi^itnessed a charter of Maelgwn to Strata 
Florida in January, 1198 {Str. Flor. appendix xiv.). The " kynan" of the Red 
Book of Hergest (Bruts, 346) is a slip for " kadwgan " — see Mostyn MS. 116 
in Evans, Rep. i. p. 61 and B.T. 266, note 2. 


CHAP, drove him ignominiously into hasty flight, and captured his 
^^^^' nephew, Cynan ap Hywel, and his chief counsellor, Gruffydd 
ap Cadwgan. It was an indubitable victory, not without its 
element of comedy, but it had no great effect upon the general 
situation, and the fortification of Builth at the king's command 
by Engelard of Cigogn6 ^^^ threatened the sons of Gruffydd 
ap Rhys with danger from a new quarter. 

Confident of his hold upon South and Mid Wales, the 
king now resolved that there must be a day of reckoning for 
the prince of Gwynedd, who, heedless of the gathering storm, 
was at this moment ravaging the border.^^^ He summoned 
to meet him at Chester ^^^ all the other leaders of the Welsh, 
and almost all obeyed, not only Llywelyn's old enemies, 
Gwenwynwyn, Maelgwn and Rhys Gryg, but with them men 
like Hywel ap Gruffydd and Madog of Northern Powys, who 
had hitherto followed the banner of the son of lorwerth.^^^ 
That prince had for the nonce no allies but the sons of Gruffydd 
ap Rhys. At first, indeed, it did not seem as if the threatened 
onslaught would be very effective. The men of Gwynedd 
followed their oft-repeated tactics on such occasions, retreating 
from the lower lands with all their possessions to the fastnesses 
of Eryri, and, as the season was the middle of May,^^* the 
host found itself, when it reached Degannwy, unable to feed 
at the expense of the country, and, in default of other provision, 

""Described by B.T. (p. 266) as " Gelart (MSS. C. E.) synyscal kaer 
loyw ". Engelard, one of John's group of foreign captains and officials, ap- 
pears as sheriff of Gloucester on 26th February, 1210 (Rot. regn. Joh. 152). For 
his origin and history see Trans. Roy. Hist. Soc. 1904, p. 250. Builth had 
come into the possession of the crown with the fall of William de Breos, and 
Engelard was apparently custos of the Breos estates in Wales — see Rot. Claus. i. 
135. 137. 148, 149. 

1" For John's Welsh expedition see Ann. C. MSS. B. and C. ; B.T. ; " O 
Oes Gwrtheyrn" in Comment. (2), 160, and Cardiff Public Library MS. 50; 
Wendover, iii. 235 ; Walt. Cov. ii. 203 ; Ann. Marg., Theokesb. and Wigorn. s.a. 
It is unfortunate that no Chancery roll of any description for the thirteenth year 
of John (1211-12) is now extant. 

"2 In B.T. 267 " Kaer lleon " is absurdly translated " Caerleon " ! 

113 Hywel, it has been shown, went with Llywelyn to the Scottish border in 
1209. Madog and Llywelyn are coupled together in a royal letter of 29th July, 
1204 (note 23 above), and the former was in the king's good graces in the spring 
of 1205, when the latter was cementing his alliance with the crown (Rot. Claus. 
i. 23). 

1" " Cito post pascha [3rd April] "—says Ann. C. MS. B. But John did not 
reach Chester until i6th May — see Hardy's Itinerary and cf. Annates S. Albani 
in Liebermann, Ungedruckte Anglo-N ormanische Geschichtsquellen, p. 169. 


exposed to the danger of famine. Eggs comnfianded the CHAP, 
price of fowls ^^^ and horseflesh did duty for beef and mutton. 
For the moment John was baffled by the special difficulties of 
Welsh warfare and was forced to beat a retreat, returning to 
England at the end of the month.^^^ But he was by no means 
diverted from his purpose ; fresh preparations were made, on 
an ampler and more provident scale, and on 8th July he was 
on the border again.^^'^ He set out this time from Oswestry ^^* 
and made rapidly for the mouth of the Conway, driving 
Llywelyn before him into the wilds of Arllechwedd. Arrived 
at Aber, he was able to humble another magnate who had 
ventured to defy his irresistible power. Bishop Robert of 
Bangor ^^^ had refused to meet an excommunicated king ; 
John's answer was to send a troop of Braban^ons to the 
episcopal city, who, after setting fire to it, seized the bishop as 
he stood in his robes at the high altar of his cathedral and 
forcibly carried him off to the king's camp. The payment of 
a fine of two hundred hawks secured him his liberty, but lost 
honour and peace of mind were not so easily retrieved, and it 
is hardly fanciful to suppose that it was as the result of this 
outrage that Robert died in the following year. 

Llywelyn was now in a dangerous plight, and it was well 
for him that he had in his wife Joan an advocate who could 
plead his cause with the king. Vicious though he was, John 
was not without affection for his children, and he agreed to 

116 ii Yar keynyauc atal " (Ven. III. xiii. i). 

116 «( Amgylch y sulgwyn " [22nd May] — B.T. 

^1^ Ann. S. Albania ut supra, and Wendover. 

118 n Album Monasterium " is rendered Whitchurch by Coxe (Wendover, iii. 
235) and also by Hardy in the entries for 6th to loth August, 1216, in his Itinerary. 
But, though Whitchurch occasionally appears under this name, as in Gir. Camb. 
vi. 142 {Itin. ii. 12) and Tax. Nich. 247, it was indubitably borne also by Oswestry 
— see Gir. Camb. v. 375 (Exp. Hib. ii. 31) ; Ann. C. MS. B. s.a. 1233 ; Cal. 
Doc. Fr. i. 116 — and there was no comparison between the two towns as a suit- 
able starting-point for a Welsh expedition. 

1^^ Robert had been consecrated by Archbishop Hubert at Westminster on 
i6th March, 1197 (H. and St. i. 391 ; Reg. Sacr. (2), 52). It would seem, how- 
ever, that he had never been elected (Gir. Camb. i. 114), and interwoven with the 
story of the St. David's suit is that of the efforts of a certain " R.," subprior of 
Aberconwy, to obtain recognition as the true bishop-elect of Bangor (Gir. iii. 
38-40, 66-7, 193, 195, 240-2, 287-8). He was at first supported by Llywelyn, but 
his cause was afterwards given up, probably as part of the agreement with John 
in 1204. For Robert's death in 1212 see B.T. 272 (1211 = 1212) ; Ann. Tkeokesb. 
and Wigorn. s.a. 


CHAP, terms which, though severe and crushing, yet left to the 
^^^^' prince of Gwynedd life, liberty, and a sufficient, if contracted, 
realm. He took possession of those four cantrefs of the 
" Perfeddwlad " or Middle Country ,^2° which, lying as they 
did next to England and outside the limits of Snowdonia, were 
always first seized upon by an English king desiring to curtail 
the power of a prince of Gwynedd, and thus restricted Llywelyn 
to the lands beyond the Conway. He took from him in addi- 
tion some thirty hostages,^^^ and imposed upon the country 
an enormous tribute of cattle, with a smaller render of horses, 
dogs, and birds. Having thus, as he supposed, settled the 
affairs of Wales as triumphantly as those of Ireland, John 
returned to Oswestry in the middle of August.^^^ In South 
Wales, too, all opposition was swept aside. Falkes of 
Breaute, with the aid of the knights of Dyfed and Glamorgan 
and the support of Maelgwn and Rhys Gryg, attacked Northern 
Ceredigion and reduced Rhys and Owain ap Gruffydd to 
submission. The two young princes were sent to England to 
make their peace with the king in person, and Falkes took 
possession of their territory for the crown, building in it at 
Aberystwyth a new castle which was no doubt designed to 
be an effective check upon future movements of the Welsh of 
Mid Wales.123 

But in his overweening pride John had gone too far ; the 
erection of the castle at Aberystwyth proved to be a serious 
error in tactics. What had secured him his easy victory was 
his success in isolating Llywelyn, whose pre-eminence had 
aroused the envy and jealousy of so many of his fellow-princes. 
By continuing the policy of balancing one princQ against the 
other, the king might have retained a real control over Welsh 
affairs, but he chose to embark instead upon a scheme of 
conquest and settlement which was to cover the whole of 
Wales. Not only at Aberystwyth, but also in the Middle 

120 " Y berued wlat " (B.T.) included Rhos, Rhufoniog, Tegeingl, and Dyffryn 
Clwyd (Rymer, i. 267). 

1^1 Thirty, according to Ann. C. MS. C. Wendover says twenty-eight, Ann. 
Marg. thirty-two, " O Oes Gwrtheyrn " twenty-five, including Llywelyn's son, 
Gruffydd, of whom this is the earliest mention. 

^22 15th August, according to Wendover. 

123 B.x". and Ann. Marg. For " Ffawcwn " as "synyscal kaer dyf" see 
note loi above. 


Country and in Powys, castles began to rise, symbols of a CHAP, 
power which would ere long leave no substantial foothold for 
that of any Welsh chief. Maelgwn and Rhys Gryg soon came 
to the conclusion that it was not for this they had fought ; 
suddenly passing from the royalist to the patriotic side, they 
forced the garrison at Aberystwyth to capitulate and burnt 
the new fortress to the ground. At the same time another 
Welsh prince who had done battle for John in his foreign 
wars, Cadwallon ab Ifor Bach of Senghenydd, broke out into 
revolt and ravaged the lowlands of Glamorgan.^^* Before the 
end of this year 1 2 1 1 , it was evident that the victory won in 
the summer was of the showy rather than of the solid and 
enduring type. 

For a little while it might seem as if the king and Llywelyn 
were to resume the former footing of friendship, for the latter, 
accompanied, no doubt, by Joan, was induced to spend the 
Easter of 1212 with John at Cambridge.^^^ But this visit 
to the English court can hardly have failed to disclose to 
the two the crazy foundations on which rested the imposing 
superstructure of the king's power. His lawless and insolent 
tyranny had created among the great men of his realm such 
an atmosphere of fiery resentment and hate as needed but 
a spark of opportunity to make it flare out in open revolt. 
Llywelyn thus learnt that he had no reason to fear a second 
invasion of his territories, and in the summer threw in his lot 
without hesitation with the new league which was being formed 
in Wales for the destruction of the recently built castles.^^^ 

^^^"Catwalo in glamorgan predas et combustiones fecit" (Ann. C. MS. 
B. s.a. 1211). Cadwallon ab Ifor appears with other leading Welshmen of 
Morgannwg in a Margam charter of 1199 (Cartae Glatn. iii. 175). In the 
summer of 1203 he was with the king in Normandy and helped Giraldus in his 
money difficulties (Gir. iii. 303), and in the following March John was anxious 
to take him abroad with him once more (Rot. regn. yoh. 85 — Westminster, 
27th March). Giraldus calls him " cognatum suum " — he and the archdeacon 
were second cousins (p. 507). Ann. Marg. records the vengeance taken by John 
upon the two sons of Cadwallon whom he held as hostages. 

125 " Qui in Pascha cum rege Anglie fuerat, dicto rege apud Kanteberge 
Pascha celebrante " (Ann. S. Edm. s.a.). Miss Norgate's account of the relations 
of John with the Welsh during this year (John Lackland, pp. 167 9) overlooks 
this fact and is inexact in several other respects. 

i^^The 1211 and 1212 of B.T. (pp. 270-2) are really the same year (the 
battle in Spain is that of Las Navas de Tolosa, fought on i6th July, 1212) 
Through this repetition, the error due to the omission of the year 1207 is righted, 
and the chronology of the Rolls edition becomes correct. 


CHAP. The combination included not only Llywelyn, Maelgwn, and 
■ Rhys Gryg, but also Gwenwynwyn, who was being edged 
out of his possessions by Robert of Vieuxpont, the king's lieu- 
tenant in Powys, and it revealed itself in a sudden revolt at 
the end of June, while John was in the north, giving help to 
King William of Scotland.^^' Fuel was added to the flame 
by the action of the pope, who, in his resolve to exhaust every 
available means of reducing the king to submission, released 
the insurgents from their allegiance, encouraged them to resist 
to the utmost of their power, and rewarded them by freeing 
their country from the burden of the interdict.^^^ With such 
approval and countenance, it is no wonder that the movement 
proved highly successful ; Llywelyn recovered the whole of 
the Perfeddwlad, except the castles of Rhuddlan and Deg- 
annwy, and captured a royal official, one Robert the Wolf, who 
had long been a thorn in the side of the Welsh.^^^ Gwen- 
wynwyn besieged Robert of Vieuxpont in his new castle at 
Mathrafal, and Rhys Gryg set fire to the town of Swansea.^^*^ 
Madog ap Gruffydd ^^^ in North Wales and Rhys and Owain 
ap Gruffydd ^^^ in the South held aloof from the rising, but 
their abstention was but as a featherweight in the balance 
compared to the advantage won by Llywelyn in shaking him- 
self free from the dangerous isolation of the previous year and 
regaining his natural position as leader of the Welsh people. 

^"^ Ann. S. Edm. John was at Durham on 28th June. He had on 26th 
May transferred Ceredigion from Maelgwn to Rhys ap Gruffydd (Rot. Pat. i. 93), 
but this was a consequence of the attack upon Aberystwyth in the previous year. 
The first indication in the rolls of fresh trouble in Wales is to be found on 6th 
July, when the king asked Falkes of Breaut6 what force he needed to repel an 
attack and ordered the replenishing of the stock of provisions kept at Oswestry 
(Rot. Claus. i. 119). 

^^»B.T.,Ann. Waverl. 

129 Ann, s. Edm. " Robertus Lupus " was made a custos of the vacant see 
of Lichfield (or Chester) on 9th October, 1208 (Rot. Pat. i. 86-7), and he was still 
acting in that capacity in May, 1212 (Rot. Claus. i. 116). He had also in June, 
1212, the manor of Ellesmere (Testa de Nevill, 56). For the negotiations for his 
release see Pat. Rolls, Hen. IIL i. 8. 

'^'^^ Ann. Marg. 

131 On 3rd August, the Earl of Chester was warned to treat him as a friend and 
ally (Rot. Claus. i. 121); a little later he is found in John's pay (123). Thus 
B.T. is clearly wrong in including him in the Welsh confederation, and the same 
remark applies to Maredudd ap Rhotpert of Cydewain — see Rot. Claus. i. 123. 
Neither name appears in the corresponding passage in Ann. C. MS. B. 

^'2 About 1st September Falkes was ordered to supply their needs (Rot. 
Clans, i. 123). 


Tohn had intended this summer to invade France, but the CHAP. 

news of the revolt brought about a sudden change of plans. 

He resolved instead upon a Welsh expedition, which was to 
crush Llywelyn once for all. Throughout July and well into 
the middle of August, he was directing the organisation of a 
host which was to assemble at Chester on the 19th of the latter 
month, amply furnished with provisions and other requisites 
for a Welsh campaign.^^^ In the meantime he paid a hurried 
visit to the border, and about 1st August carried off Robert of 
Vieuxpont from his perilous position at Mathrafal.^^* A few 
days before the proposed muster, he arrived at Nottingham 
and struck the keynote of what was to be a war of pitiless 
vengeance by wreaking his wrath upon certain of the Welsh 
hostages, refusing, the chronicler tells us, to taste food or drink 
until they had been despatched.^^^ But it was not long ere 
his schemes suffered a complete and final overthrow. Letters 
from more than one quarter, including one written by his 
daughter Joan, who had, no doubt, the safety of her husband, 
as well as of her father, in mind, disclosed to him the existence 
of a conspiracy among his barons to betray him to his foes or 
make him a prisoner during this Welsh campaign by which he 
set such store.^^*^ He saw that the plot was feasible, and, on the 
1 6th, countermanded all the preparations for the muster.^^^ 
The great onslaught upon Llywelyn resolved itself into an 
order to the fleet assembled at Chester to sail around the 
North-Welsh coast and inflict as much damage as was pos- 
sible. ^^^ Later in the year the baffled king had recourse to 

133 Rot. Claus. i. 131. 

'■^^ J5.2". and Ann. S. Edm. relate the incident; the date is furnished by the 
Misae Roll of 14 John — see the edition of Henry Cole {1844), pp. 236, 237. 

135 Wendover says that all the hostages given up in 121 1 were put to death, 
but this is an exaggeration ; Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, in particular, was spared. 

136 VVendover, iii. 239; Ann. S. Edm. 

137 Rot. Pat. i. 94 (letters to the sheriffs and to the baronage) ; Rot. Claus. 
i. 121 (letters as to cattle). Miss Norgate assumes that there was only a tempor- 
ary change of tactics on i6th August, and that the incident of the letters, followed 
by the final abandonment of the expedition, is to be connected with the September 
visit to Nottingham (John Lackland, pp. 168-9). But there is nothing in the rolls 
to warrant this view ; on the contrary, they show that on i6th August all prepara- 
tions for the Welsh war came suddenly, and for no specified reason, to an end — 
see especially the letter of the i8th written to the Mayor of Angoulfime (Rot. 
Claus. i. 132). 

1^8 Rot. Claus. i. 121-2. Two galleys were to take surplus stores to Bristol. 


CHAP, another expedient ; "^ he sought out two rivals of the prince 
^^"- of Gwynedd, namely, Owain ap Dafydd, who lived in England 
with his mother, Emma,^*<> and GrufFydd ap Rhodri, and in- 
vested these cousins of Llywelyn's with the three cantrefs of 
Rhos,^''^ Rhufoniog, and Dyffryn Clwyd, promising them Arfon, 
Arllechwedd, and Lleyn, if they could win them also. It does 
not appear that this grant had any practical effect ; Llywelyn, 
as the champion of Welsh liberty, was too firmly fixed in the 
affections of his people to be thus dislodged, and the close of 
the year saw him more securely established than ever.^*'^ 

Early in 1 2 1 3 the capture of the two castles which still 
held out for the king in Gwynedd, namely, Rhuddlan and 
Degannwy,"^ filled to the full Llywelyn's cup of triumph. 
His alliance with Maelgwn and Gwenwynwyn still held good, 
and the latter prince was able to keep Robert of Vieuxpont at 
bay at Carreghofa on the Tanat.^'^* It was only in South 
Wales that the family feuds of the house of Deheubarth en- 
abled John to win some successes. Rhys and Owain ap 
Gruffydd had had the misfortune always to espouse the losing 
cause ; they had fruitlessly supported Llywelyn in 121 1 and 
the king in 121 2, and they now demanded help from the crown 
to recover their standing in the country. Falkes of Breaute ^*^ 
was sent from Glamorgan and Engelard of Cigogne ^^^ from 
Hereford to their assistance, and a determined attack was made 
upon the possessions of Rhys Gryg, who had refused to share 
with his nephews. Late in the January of 121 3 the army 
set out from Brecknock, now in the king's hands, encamped 

139 Rot. Chart, i. i88 (Southwark, 30th Oct.)— c/. Gwydir Fam. 17. 

I*" See note 26 above. 

"1 The king, however, retained the commote of Creuddyn in this cantref, 
with the castle of Degannwy. 

142 Gruffydd ap Rhodri appears a little later as a captam of Welshmen in the 
king's service {Rot. Claus. i. 210— 14th Aug. 1214). 

"3 B.T. 278. 

144 On loth June, 1213, Robert was ordered to transfer " Carrecou" to the 
care of John Lestrange (Rot. Pat. i. 100). Other border castles held by him at this 
time were Chirk, Oswestry, Shrawardine and" Eggelawe " {ibid, and Rot. Claus. 

i- 132)- _ 

146 « Ffawcwn synysgal kaerdyf " {Bruts, 349 ; B.T. 274). 

146 .. Synysgal henford " {ibid.). Engelard appears as sheriff of Herefordshire 

in November, 1212 {Rot. Claus. i. 127). C/. Trans. Roy. Hist. Soc. 1904, P- 



at Trallwng Elgan ^^^ in Cantref Mawr, and thence marched CHAP, 
against Rhys, who was defeated in the field, not far from 
Llandeilo. There followed in quick succession the capture of 
Dinefwr, the flight of Rhys, with his family and his retainers, to 
Ceredigion to seek the protection of his brother Maelgwn, and 
the capitulation of his fortress of Llandovery — disasters which 
brought the fortunes of this prince to the lowest ebb and gave 
the Great and the Little Cantref to his nephews. As though 
this were not enough, he fell later in the year into the hands 
of the king's men and was promptly imprisoned in the royal 
castle of Carmarthen. 

The point has now been reached when John sought relief 
from the difficulties which beset him by absolute submission to 
the pope and acceptance of Stephen Langton as Archbishop of 
Canterbury. On 15th May, 12 13, he made over his realms of 
England and Ireland to the holy see and received them again 
as fiefs from the papal legate. Certain immediate advantages 
were bought by this act of self-abasement ; the dreaded French 
invasion was warded off, the friendship of Innocent was .secured, 
the plotting of the barons came to an end. Among other 
results of the political transformation, the Welsh revolt lost its 
character of a holy war and became once more simple rebellion, 
to the manifest disadvantage of Llywelyn and his allies. But 
Innocent showed some appreciation of the service rendered to 
him by the mountaineers of Wales, whose romantic story he had 
no doubt often heard from the lips of Giraldus. He instructed 
his legate, Pandulf, to negotiate a truce between them and the 
king, and on 3rd June it was signified to the custodians of the 
marches that they were to arrange for a two months' cessation 
of strife.^*^ Archbishop Stephen took an active share in the 
work of pacification,^*^ with the result that the truce was pro- 
longed throughout the year 1214^*^ and that Wales remained 
quiet while John was prosecuting in that year his campaign for 

^^"^ Trallwng Elgan is a township in the north of the parish of Talley ; it be- 
longed to thecanonsof that place (Afon. Angl. iv. 164; Arch. Camb. V. x. [1893] 


'^*^Rot. Pat. i. 100 (Wingham). '^*^ Ibid. 103 (Northampton). 

ISO On i8th August, 1214, the king wrote from Angouleme, ratifying the truce 
concluded between the justiciar, Bishop Peter of Winchester, and Llywelyn, 
Maelgwn, Gwenwynwyn and Madog ap Gruifydd {Rot. Pat. i. 120). Madog had 
clearly returned to his old allegiance in the course of the year. 


CHAP, the recovery of Normandy. Llywelyn had won all he desired 
in Gwynedd ; his allies, Maelgwn and Gwenwynwyn, were 
secure in their territories of Ceredigion and Southern Powys ; 
so that it needed no great effort on his part to comply with 
the terms of the truce. 

John had hitherto staved off, by the display of force or by 
skilful change of policy, the outburst of angry rebellion which 
his unbridled tyranny made sooner or later inevitable. His 
failure to achieve success abroad brought the domestic trouble 
to a head ; the defeat of the coalition he had formed against 
Philip Augustus of France at the battle of Bouvines on 27th 
July, 1 2 14, was a blow from which he never recovered. 
When he returned to England in October, he found a large 
section of the baronage, who had with them the sympathy of 
Langton, in open opposition ; from his fruitless interview with 
the malcontents at Bury St. Edmunds in November may be 
dated the beginning of the movement which led to the sealing 
of Magna Carta.^^^ His first thought was, as usual, to divide 
his enemies, and during the next few months he made diligent 
efforts to detach certain powerful interests — the church, the 
primate, the citizens of London — from the baronial cause. 
In pursuance of this policy, he began to angle for the support 
of the Welsh, having, perhaps, in his mind the example of his 
father, who had derived valuable help from Wales in suppres- 
sing the feudal rebellion of 1173.^^^ On i8th December, 
being at Monmouth on a short visit to the Herefordshire 
marches, he ordered Engelard of Cigogne to deliver to 
Llywelyn four of his hostages, in response, as he said, to the 
petition of his daughter Joan.^^^ At the beginning of March, 
121 5, he went a step further and commissioned four men who 
were in his confidence, including William of Cornhill, the new 
bishop of Lichfield, to interview Llywelyn, Maelgwn, Gwen- 
wynwyn, and Madog ap Gruffydd on the border and make 

'^^^ Ann. C. MS. B. aptly quotes, in reference to this movement, the 
prophecy of Merlin — " nam discidium alienigenarum orietur " {Hist. Reg. vii. 3). 

15* See page 544. 

^^'■^ Rot. Pat. i. 125 ; Rymer, i. 126. See also Rot. Claus. i. 181, for a letter 
of the same date to the sheriff of Gloucester, asking him to see that the hostages 
pay all charges incurred on their behalf before they depart. In January, 1215, 
William of Cantilupe was ordered to deliver another of Llywelyn's hostages to 
his clerk Ystrwyth (Rot. Pat. i. 126). 


such offers as would secure their support in the coming CHAP, 
struggle.^^^ In April Gwenwynwyn was gratified by the 
release of a hostage who had been confined in the distant 
castle of Richmond.^^^ It is impossible to mistake the pur- 
pose of these overtures, made at a time when the resistance of 
the barons was daily growing stronger and pointing unmistak- 
ably to civil war. 

But the net was spread in vain in the sight of men who 
now saw their opportunity of profiting by the discords of the 
English realm. John found that his belated show of friendship 
made as slight an impression upon the Welsh as upon the 
other powers which he was striving to lure from the baronial 
cause. The situation had now arisen which was to repeat 
itself more than once in the constitutional conflicts of this 
century; the barons of the march, Walter Lacy, John of 
Monmouth, Hugh Mortimer, Walter Clifford, Peter fitz 
Herbert, ranged themselves on the side of the king and of 
royal authority ; '^^^ the Welsh, led by the prince of Gwynedd, 
threw in their lot with the advocates of reform. For the 
people of Wales, as for the English folk, the time had come 
when there was greater reason to fear the central power, grown 
incredibly strong, than the little tyrants of the countryside, 
whose feudal pride and insolence had been sorely humbled. 
Thus it was that Llywelyn, rejecting the offers of the king, 
entered into a close alliance with the northern insurgents, and 
when they had on 17th May made their position secure by 
the seizure of London, marched upon Shrewsbury, where town 
and castle were surrendered to him without a blow.^^^ 

1^^ Rot. Claus. i. 203 ; Rymer, i. 127. For William see Diet. Nat. Biog. 
xii. p. 228. The suggested place of meeting (" Ruth vel Crucem Griffin ") was 
possibly Rhyd y Groes, near Welshpool, the scene of the victory of GrufFydd ap 
Llywelyn in 1039. The letter to the Welsh princes in Rot. Pat. i. 131 (Notting- 
ham, 25th March) was probably given to the commissioners to take with them as 
their authority to the conference. 

i»» Rot. Pat. i. 132. 

156 jhe first four were at the head of a force assembled at Gloucester for the 
king's defence at the end of April, 1215 (Rot. Pat. i. 134 — Marlborough, 30th 
April). Walter Lacy had been reinstated in his lands, except Ludlow, in July, 
1213 {Rot. Claus. i. 147), and Ludlow was added in October, 1214 {ibid. 175). 
Peter was with the king when the Charter was sealed. 

1" B.T. 282. Letters despatched by John on 15th, i6th, and 24th May {Rot. 
Pat. i. 136, 138) show that he was anxious about the safety of the great Shrop- 
shire fortress of Bridgenorth (" Bruges "). 



CHAP, The link which connected Llywelyn with the baronial 


■ organisation was forged, there is good reason to believe, by 
Giles de Breos, bishop of Hereford.^^^ Like most of the 
English bishops, Giles had been in exile during the interdict 
period, but his was a private rather than a public quarrel, and, 
though on his return in 121 3 he had taken his place in the 
royal counsels,^^^ he had not forgotten the cruel persecution of 
his house, the death of his father in poverty abroad, the wast- 
ing end of his mother and eldest brother in a Windsor dungeon. 
John had at first shown a disposition to treat him well and 
had granted him the Breos lands in England and in Wales, 
but had then delayed the fulfilment of his promise until the 
bishop's heart was ripe for rebellion.^®*^ About the middle of 
May, Giles sent his brother Reginald ^^^ to the marches, with 
orders to join the Welsh in an attack upon the constables who 
held the Breos castles for the king ; in this way Pencelli,^^^ 
Abergavenny, White Castle, and Skenfrith ^^^ were won, and 
when the bishop himself appeared upon the scene, the still 
more impoitant strongholds of Brecon, Hay, Radnor, Builth, 
and Blaen Llyfni were regained for the family which had held 
them for so many years. Throughout there was a close co- 

i''^ The alliance with the barons is proved by the Welsh articles in Magna 
Carta, no less than by the statements in B.T. and Ann. C. MS. B., while the 
latter source adds the special league with Bishop Giles. 

1^" He witnesses royal charters dated 15th December, 1213, 28th October, 
22nd November, 27th December, 1214, gth and 15th January, 1215 (Rot. Cart. 
i. 195, 202, 203, 204, 206). 

160 For the "fine" see Rot. Claus. i. 189 (5th March, 1215) ; on loth May 
(Rot. Pat. i. 141) John made a concession with regard to it, but it was too late. 
By 15th May Giles was in open hostility — see the order for the seizure of his 
Gloucestershire estates in Rot. Claus. i. 200. 

181 B. T. has " robert " {Bruts, 352), but no Robert de Breos of this age is other- 
wise known. Probably the author of this chronicle wrongly extended an R of 
his Latin original, which stood for Reginaldus, Powel (196) has, in fact, 
" Reynold ". 

162 On the Usk, below Brecon. See Breconsh. (2), pp. 458-9 ; Arch. Camb. 
IV. iii. (1872), 386. 

163 The three castles of Grosmont, White Castle (or Llantilio — it stands in 
the parish of that name), and Skenfrith (from the Welsh " ynys gynwreid " — see 
Bruts, 352-3 and Lib. Land. 419 [index]), forming a triangle in Upper Gwent, 
nearly always went together. In the reign of Henry II. they were royal castles, 
for which the sheriff of Hereford was responsible — see Pipe Roll, 7 Hen. II. 
19-20; 8, p. 58; 9, p. 7; 10, p. 6; II, p. 100. John gave them on 26th July, 
1201, to Hubert de Burgh (Rot. regn. Joh. 19), but on i6th December, 1205, 
transferred them to William de Breos (Rot. Cart. i. 160 ; Rot. Pat. i. 57). There 
are considerable remains of all three — see Coxe (2), 264-72. 


operation between the house of Breos and the Welsh, erst- CHAP 
while the most obstinate of foes : Reginald sealed the alliance 
by marrying Llywelyn's daughter, the dark-eyed Gwladus,^®* 
and Elfael, once the theatre of bloody strife between the two 
races, was left, with its castles of Painscastle and Colwyn, to 
be occupied by the Welsh under Gwallter ab Einion Clud. 

Meanwhile the princes of South Wales, it may be readily 
believed, were not idle. The sons of Gruffydd ap Rhys, 
fickle as ever in their allegiance and yet never separated from 
each other, cut themselves adrift from the royal cause and came 
to terms with their uncle Maelgwn. On the 27th of May ^^^ 
Maelgwn and Rhys invaded Dyfed and were well received by 
the Welsh inhabitants of Emlyn and Elfed ; resistance was 
offered in Cemais, so that they ravaged the province, burning 
the vill of Maenclochog, and then retired to seek reinforce- 
ments. The representative of the royal power in South-west 
Wales was the Earl Marshall, who had the custody of the 
castles of Cardigan and Carmarthen,^^^ as well as his own 
fortresses of Pembroke and Cilgerran, but he had at the 
moment a more important office to discharge as the king's 
chief lay counsellor in the negotiations with the insurgent 
barons, so that he was forced to let the Welsh rising run its 
course. It occurred to someone that it might be advantage- 
ous to give Rhys Gryg his liberty, and the order was accord- 
ingly issued two days before the famous meeting at Runny- 
mead ; ^^'^ its sole effect was, however, to add another to the 
list of Welsh chieftains in revolt. Maelgwn and Owain ap 
Gruffydd went north to secure the aid of Llywelyn, while the 
younger Rhys swept the coast of the Bristol Channel from 
Swansea to Carmarthen.^®^ 

164 gy^ 286; Ann. Wigorn. and Dunst. (p. 52). She survived Reginald 
and in 1230 married Ralph Mortimer {Ann. Wigorn. s.a.) ; widowed the second 
time in 1246, she died in 1251 {B.T. 336 — "y bu uarw Gwladus Du "), 

166 << In vigilia assencionis " (Ann. C. MS. B.). 

166 On 29th Jan. 1214, John ordered Falkes of Breaut^ to deliver to the Earl 
Marshall the castles of" Kaermerdin, Cardinan et Goher " {Rot. Pat. i. 109). 

^^'^ Rot. Pat. i. 143 (Windsor, 13th June). " Resus Boscan " = Rhys Fychan ; 
for the epithet see chap. xvi. note 17. 

168 Four castles in Gower were captured by Rhys, namely, those of Loughor, 

" Castell Hu " (possibly at Talybont — see Powel, 196 ; Morgan, Survey of West 

Gower, London, 1899, pp. 5-8), Oystermouth ( = Ystum Llwynarth — see Arch. 

Camb. IV. xi. [1880], 155), and" Seinhenyd ". The last named cannot have been 

VOL. II. 19 


CHAP. Magna Carta has often been described as a treaty of peace 

between the king and his subjects. So far as the Welsh were 
concerned, this was its sole significance. What they desired 
from the king was, not the redress of constitutional grievances, 
the Welsh legal system being independent of the English and 
wholly under Welsh control, but the reversal of certain acts 
arising out of the state of war between the two countries — the 
restoration of lands and castles seized by the crown, the freeing 
of hostages, the return of charters deposited in pledge of good 
behaviour. These demands were included by the barons in 
the articles which they submitted to John on 15th June, and 
were accepted by him.^^^ The charter provides that all lands, 
liberties and the like, in England and in Wales,^'^^ of which the 
Welsh have been deprived without legal warrant since the king's 
accession, shall be forthwith restored to them ; in cases of dispute, 
there shall be a proper trial on the march, the law invoked to 
be English, Welsh, or marcher law, according to the situation 
of the land which is claimed. The Welsh are to reciprocate as 
to any unlawful seizures made upon their side.^^^ Seizures of 
the period 11 54 to 11 99 are to stand over, unless already the 
subject of a legal process, until the king has performed, or 
been released from, his vow to go on crusade. All Welsh 
hostages, including Llywelyn's son Gruffydd,^^^ are to be re- 
leased and all charters returned to their owners. 

in Senghenydd, which is many miles from Gower ; it has been variously fixed 
at Llangenydd {Arch. Camb. II. ii. [1851], 67-8; Owen, Pemb. i. 258) and at 
Swansea (Morgan ut supra, 221-50 ; W. People, p. 248). 

169 For chapters 56, 57, and 58 of M. Carta (text, translation and comment- 
ary) see McKechnie, Magna Carta (Glasgow, 1905), pp. 533-7. The Articles 
of the Barons, §§ 44, 45, will be found on p. 574. 

^'i' Cases in point were i : Ashford, which was in the king's hands in January, 
1215 (Rot. Claus. i. 185-6) ; 2. Ellesmere, in John's possession in August, 1214 
{ibid. 171) ; 3. the church of Salkeld, given by the king to Thomas of Argenteuil 
in September, 1214 {Rot, Pat. i. 122). 

I'^i McKechnie is surely wrong in classing this among instances of the action 
of the barons in securing their own rights, since the marcher interests of the in- 
surgents were very small. The Earl of Essex (lord of Glamorgan — see note 43 
above) is, of course, a notable exception, and one may add Foulk fitz Warren, 
who since 1204 had been lord of Whittington {Rot. Pat. i. 46 — cf. Rot. Claus. 
i. 126 and Testa de Nevill, 56 (inquest of 1212)). 

I'^^The " filium Lewelini " is not named, but can hardly be other than Gruff- 
ydd, who was handed over to the king in 121 1 (see note 121), was still in captivity 
on 30th August, 1213 {Rot. Pat. i. 103), and, according to " O Oes Gwrtheyrn " 
{Comment. (2), i6o-i), was released at the instance of Archbishop Stephen about 


The charter, however, was no sooner sealed than suspicion CHAP, 
began to grow up on both sides and to blight the hopes which 
had been founded upon it. At first the work of reconciliation 
seemed to be making good progress ; the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury arranged at the end of July to escort Llywelyn and his 
allies to the royal presence,^'^^ hostages were set free,^^* and 
John made a grant to the prince of Gwynedd of the manors 
of Bidford in Warwickshire and Suckley in Worcestershire.^'^^ 
But, as the summer wore on into autumn, it became clear that 
the peace between king and baronage would not stand, and 
the power of the church to act as mediator was crippled by the 
action of the pope, who denounced the charter and the whole 
movement for reform. Bishop Giles, who had hitherto held 
aloof from all negotiations,^'^^ now felt compelled to yield 
obedience ; ^'^'^ he made his peace with John on 21st October,^^^ 
but at Gloucester on the return journey fell sick and died.^'^® 
By this time war had broken out and the barons had taken 
the decisive step of inviting Louis, the eldest son of Philip 
Augustus, to bring a French army to their aid and thus win 
for himself the English crown. The first contingent of troops 
sent in response to this call landed at the end of November. 

The moment had now come for the renewal of the Welsh 
campaign. Early in December, Llywelyn appeared in South 
Wales at the head of an army gathered from every Welsh 
state which retained its independence ; with him were Hywel 
ap Gruffydd ap Cynan,^^** Llywelyn ap Maredudd ap 

1" Rot. Pat. i. 150 (Oxford, 22nd July). 

^'''^Ibid. 151 (Bridgenorth, 31st July). 

^''^ Rot. Claus. i. 226 (Downton, 19th Aug.). 

176 He was not at Runnymead, and on 2nd July John invited him, with any 
friends he might choose, to an amicable conference {Rot. Pat. i. 146). 

i''''"Rac ofyn y pab," says B.T. expressly. A reference in Papal Letters 
i. 41 shows he was threatened with suspension. 

17^ A safe-conduct was issued to him on gth Oct. {Rot. Pat. i. 156) and on 
the 2ist John announces the agreement, made at the siege of Rochester {ibid. 
157 ; Rot. Claus. i. 232). 

"9 17th November {Reg. Sacr. (2), 53). In B.T. 284 the reading of MSS. B. 
and C. (note b) is to be preferred to tliat of the Red Book. 

180 Hywel died in 1216 and was buried at Aberconwy {Ann. C. MS. B. ; 
B.T. 294). Prydydd y Moch mourned his early death {Myv. Arch. I. 295 [208] ; 
with "huysgwr yn oed gwas " cf. "was ieuanc " of MS. C. of B.T.). The 
" i ewythr " of the Book of Basingwerk {B.T. 288) is one of the inept additions 
of Gutyn Owain. 

19 * 


CHAP. Cynan,^^^ Gwenwynwyn, Maredudd ap Rhotpert/*^ Rhys Gryg, 
• Maelgwn, the sons of Grufifydd ap Rhys, those of Maelgwn ap 
Cadwallon (of Maelienydd), and, as representing their lord, the 
household troops of Madog ap Grufifydd, It was a decisive 
epoch in the career of the prince of Aberffraw — the first occa- 
sion on which he had led the whole chieftaincy of Wales to battle, 
his first appearance as a war-leader in South Wales. He won 
such victories as secured to him the unquestioned primacy of his 
race until the end of his life. On the 8th he attacked Car- 
marthen, for seventy years the centre of royal power in the 
valley of the Towy ; ^^^ in five days it was surrendered to him, 
after which with little ado he made himself master of the castles 
of Kidwelly, Llanstephan, St. Clear's, Laugharne, Narberth,^**'* 
and Newport.^^^ Christmas was now approaching, but the 
mildness of the season encouraged the princes to persist in 
their campaign and they were rewarded on the 26th by the 
capture of Cardigan and of Cilgerran.^^^ Thereupon, as the 
patriotic chronicler tells us with triumph and pride, " the Welsh 
returned joyfully to their homes, but the French, driven out 
of all their holds, wandered hither and thither like birds in 
melancholy wise ".^^^ 

These successes left the crown no foothold in South Wales 
save around Pembroke and Haverfordwest. The Breos lands 
were in the possession of Reginald, Llywelyn's son-in-law and 
ally, who had seized them on the death of his brother the 
bishop.^^^ Glamorgan was ruled by the insurgent Earl of 

181 Maredudd ap Cynan died in 1212 (" O Oes Gwrtheyrn " in Comment. (2), 
160). His elegy was sung by Prydydd y Moch, who deplores (Myv. Arch. I. 
297 [210]) 

Dwyn meibyon kynan kyn bu Ilwyd yr un. 

182 Of Cydewain — see note 131. Maredudd was the son of Robert ap Lly- 
warch ap Trahaearn (Dwnn, i. 107), who died in 1171 (B.T. 208 ; B. Saes. s.a.). 
He founded (before 1236) the Cistercian nunnery of Llanllugan (Mont. Coll. ii. 
[1869], 305-6). 

183 It had been in English hands since 1145 — see p. 501. 

i84Narberth is included in MS. B. of B.T. and also in Mostyn MS. 116; cf. 
also B.T. 306. 

185 The Welsh "Trefdraeth" (Strand Hamlet), which had since 1195 taken 
the place of Nevern as the seat of the lords of Cemais. The new "port," or 
borough, was founded by William fitz Martin. 

186 B.T. assigns the surrender of Cilgerran to the 27th (p. 286). 
i8M«». C. MS. B. 188 B.r, 


Essex, in right of his wife Isabella. Llywelyn resolved to es- CHAP, 
tablish his influence in the south on a still firmer footing by a 
formal partition of the Welsh districts, a partition in which he 
wisely took no share for himself, but which gave him the more 
valuable status of overlord over the sons and grandsons of the 
Lord Rhys. It was made at Aberdovey early in 12 16, in the 
presence of an assembly of magnates, which may be regarded 
as virtually a Welsh parliament, the first of its kind, though 
not, it is true, assembled together under the provisions of any 
Welsh law. The justice and moderation with which the deli- 
cate task of division was performed are evinced by the per- 
manence of the results, which were not substantially affected 
during the lifetime of Llywelyn. Maelgwn received in Dyfed 
the Uppermost Cantref^^^ (with Carmarthen), Cemais and 
Emlyn (with Cilgerran), in Ystrad Tywi the two commotes 
of Mallaen and Hirfryn (with Llandoveryy^" and in Ceredigion 
the two commotes of Gwinionydd and Mabwnion. To Rhys 
Gryg were assigned Cantref Mawr and Cantref Bychan (except 
the two commotes allotted to Maelgwn), and therewith Cydweli 
and Carnwyllion. Ceredigion, with the castle of Cardigan,^''^ 
was made over to the sons of Gruffydd ap Rhys, with the ex- 
ception of Maelgwn's commotes, which lay along the river Teifi. 
Not long after this South-Welsh triumph, Llywelyn won a 
final victory over his old enemy Gwenwynwyn. The prince 
of Powys had, in the fervour of the late movement, done him 
homage, given him hostages, recorded his loyal submission in 
formal documents. But he could not reconcile himself to the 
defeat of all his ambitions, and early in 12 16 he lent an ear to 
the persuasions of John, who, well pleased at the prospect of a 
renewal of the old dissensions, gave him his forfeited land in 
Derbyshire ^^'^ once more, and added the important manor of 
Montgomery.^®^ Llywelyn was strong enough to take im- 

189 The " [p]elunyawc " of B.T, {Bruts, 355), i.e., Peuliniog, was included in 
Cantref Gwarthaf — see p. 265. 

i^o He had also the " maenor " of Myddfai in the Middle commote (Perfedd) 
of Cantref Bychan. 

i»i " Castell Nant yr Arian," added in B.T., was near Goginan, in the com- 
mote of Perfedd. 

i'*^ On 13th April, 1216, at Reading, John ordered Brian de I'lsle to deliver 
to Gwenwynwyn his land " in Pecco " (Rot. Pat. i. 175). 

i'*^ As early as 28th January John mentions in a letter to William Cantilupe 
that " terra de Mongumery " has been promised to Gwenwynwyn and must be 
reserved for him {Rot. Claus. i. 246). 


CHAP, mediate action ; marching upon Southern Powys, he seized 
his defiant vassal's dominions and drove him before him into 
Cheshire. This was the closing chapter in the history of the 
hapless heir of Owain Cyfeiliog, for before the end of the year 
he died/^* leaving an infant son named Gruffydd, who could not 
for many years make good his claim to his father's inheritance. 
Such was the pitiful end of a career that once bade fair to be 
illustrious and noble — a gray and sullen sunset, whose leaden 
clouds quenched the bright beams which once had illumined 
the whole of Mid Wales. Gwenwynwyn had in him the making 
of a patriot, but fate decreed that he should rule over Powys, 
the weakest of the three realms of Wales, and that he should be 
pitted against Llywelyn, whom he could not overcome and 
whose ascendancy he could not endure. 

The prince of Gwynedd had now little to fear but the pos- 
sible recovery by John of his old authority and despotic power, 
and the king's death on 19th October, 12 16, relieved him ere 
long of all anxiety upon this account. The baffled tyrant had 
spent the last few months of his life in destructive raids upon 
those parts of his realm which he thought not to be well 
affected to him, and in July and August he was on the Welsh 
border, where, failing to secure the submission of Reginald de 
Breos, he burnt his castles of Hay and Radnor and also the 
Fitz Alan castle of Oswestry.^^^ But he could not touch Lly- 
welyn, and his death created an entirely new situation, which 
was for the Welsh leader a hopeful and auspicious one. Even 
if, as proved to be the case, the French pretender should fail 
in his enterprise, and the house of Anjou, represented no longer 
by the hated John but by his nine year-old son, should regain 
the allegiance of the English people, the power of the crown 
could not, on its new basis, be for many years as menacing as 
it had been during the past reign. Llywelyn awaited the 
result of the war with equanimity, confident that, whatever its 

18* Ann. C. MS. B. is the sole authority for the date (its 1215 = 1216), but 
no reference to Gwenwynwyn as alive is to be found after 27th June, 1216 {Rot. 
Pat. i. 189— Corfe). 

I*'' His itinerary is as follows: July 24-27, Hereford; 27, 28, Hay (= y Gelli 
of B.T. 292 — see p. 437 of this book) ; 29-31, Hereford; 31, Aug. i, Leominster ; 
2, Radnor (= maes hyfeid of B.T.) and " Kingeshemed " ; 3, " Kingeshemed" 
and Clun; 4, Shrewsbury; 6-10, Oswestry (not Whitchurch — see note 118 to 
this chapter) ; 11-14, Shrewsbury. 


issue, he would be able at its close to dictate his own terms CHAP. 

r. XVII. 

of peace. 

The young Henry III. had not only the advantage of birth 
and of wise counsels around him — for his regent was the 
prudent and just Earl Marshall — but he was also supported by 
the whole weight of the ecclesiastical power. Innocent had 
been succeeded by a new pontiff,^*® but Honorius III. was 
no less ardent in his devotion to the interests of the reigning 
house, and his legate Guala joined in the coronation of Henry, 
concurred in the reissue of the charter which formed the politi- 
cal platform of the new government, and excommunicated all 
the barons of the opposite party. The attitude of the pope 
naturally governed that of the bishops, and among the prelates 
who were in attendance at Henry's court at Bristol on 12th 
November were lorwerth of St. David's, Henry of Llandaff, 
Cadwgan of Bangor, and Reiner of St. Asaph.^®'' They no 
doubt gave their countenance to the interdict pronounced by 
Guala at this time upon the whole of Wales as a punishment 
for its support of Louis,^^^ and left Llywelyn with no shadow 
of ecclesiastical support. Of greater practical importance to 
him at this moment was the gradual crumbling away of the 
French or baronial party, as the issue came to be more and 
more clearly defined as that of English versus foreign rule. 
The barons of the march, it has been already remarked, for 
the most part took the royalist side in this struggle, but at the 
death of John there were gaps in this section of the party, 
which the year 1 2 1 7 saw step by step filled. The knights of 
Glamorgan,^99 pg^gr fitz Herbert,2«o Isabel of Gloucester.^oi 

1*^ Consecrated 24th July, 1216. 

19'' See the preamble to the charter of 12 16. 

198 ^u^j, Waverl. s.a. 

199 Raymond of Sully, Herbert of St. Quintin, Robert le Sor, Henry of 
Umfraville and Gilbert of Turbeville submitted on 28th June {Rot. Claus. i. 

200 Peter was on the king's side as late as May, 1216 (Rot. Pat. i. 184 ; Rot. 
Claus. i. 272, 273), but by 6th August he had gone over to the opposition {Rot, 
Claus. i, 280). He returned to his allegiance on 13th July, 1217 {Rot. Claus. i. 


201 Her second husband, the Earl of Essex (see note 43 to this chapter), 
died in February, 1216 (Coggeshall). At the time of her submission (17th Sept. — 
Pat. Rolls, Hen. III. i, 92 ; Rot. Claus. i. 322) a third marriage, to Hubert de 
Burgh, was contemplated or had been effected {Rot, Claus. i. 319), but she died 
before 15th October (Pat. Rolls, Hen. III. i. 105), leaving no issue. 


CHAP. Thomas Corbet of Cause.^o^ John fitz Alan.^os and Foulk fitz 
Warren ^^^ successively made their peace and received their 
lands again, each one an ally lost to Llywelyn in his contest 
with the crown. 

The most serious defection of this kind was that of Regi- 
nald de Breos. Many efforts had been made by John "^^^ and 
by the Earl Marshall '^^^ to win him over, and at last, on 23rd 
June, 12 17, it was announced that he had submitted and had 
been restored to all the possessions of his house.^**^ His Welsh 
relatives were much displeased at this desertion of their cause ; 
his nephews, Rhys and Owain,^**^ at once crossed the moors of 
Tregaron and fell upon the province of Builth, while his father- 
in-law Llywelyn invaded Brecknock and threatened destruction 
to the town of Aberhonddu. Through the intervention of Rhys, 
the burgesses were allowed to offer hostages for the payment 
of 100 marks and thus escaped fire and pillage, while Llywelyn 
pushed on for Gower. His march across the bleak morasses 
of the Black Mountains and down the valley of the Tawe was 
an arduous one, but his purpose of conquest seemed almost 
achieved when Reginald, with six other knights, came to meet 
him and by the surrender of Swansea ^°^ averted the further 
ruin of his lands. Leaving Rhys Gryg to guard the mouth of 
the Tawe, Llywelyn set off in a fresh direction, and the news 
was soon spread that it was his intention to subjugate Rhos. 
A deputation of Flemings who met him at Cefn Cynfarchan,^^*' 

202 His father, Robert Corbet, had been disseised on his account (Pat. Rolls, 
Hen. ni. i. 127). 

203 William fitz Alan H. of Oswestry and Clun died in 1210 {Ann. Dttnst.), 
leaving his heir, William fitz Alan III., under age. Thomas of Erdington had 
the custody of the lands in August, 1214 (Rot. Claus. i. 170) and married his 
daughter Mary to the young William (ibid. 330, 356), who, however, died with- 
out issue not long afterwards. The younger brother John then came into the 
property, but, being on the baronial side, did not enter into full possession until 
his submission on 14th November, 1217 (Rot. Claus. i. 343). 

204 He was " manifestus inimicus noster " as late as September, 1217 (Rot. 
Claus. i. 321), but had submitted before nth February, 1218 (ibid. 352). 

^^^Rot. Pat. I. 184, 192. 206_Ro<. Claus. i. 335. 

207 Ibid. 312 ; Pat. Rolls, Hen. III. i. 72-3. ^os Sons of Matilda de Breos. 

209 A comparison of B.T. and Ann. C. MS. B. at this point will certainly 
confirm the supposition that the " Sein Henydd " of the former is Swansea. 
For the establishment of the Breos family in Gower see note 44 above. 

210 See MS. C. of B.T. Cefn Cynfarchan formed part of the original en- 
dowment of Whitland Abbey (Rot. Chart, i. 206) ; it lies a little eastward of 


near Whitland, could not turn him from the enterprise, and, CHAP, 


having forded the Western Cleddau at Wolfsdale,'^^^ he was 
preparing to assault Haverford, when lorwerth, the canon of 
Talley who had been made bishop of St. David's, intervened 
in the interests of peace and induced him to retire on receiving 
twenty-four hostages from the burgesses as a pledge of their 
willingness to submit to his rule, or, in the alternative, to pay 
him a fine of 1,000 marks before Michaelmas. 

Meanwhile the cause of Louis and the insurgent barons 
had reached a desperate pass, and on nth September, 12 17, 
the Treaty of Lambeth was concluded, which ensured the 
withdrawal of the foreign claimant and the union of all Eng- 
land under the young Henry III. A clause in the treaty ex- 
tended its benefits to Llywelyn and the Welsh, if they wished 
to be included,^^^ but, as the terms offered to them involved 
the surrender of all their late conquests, it is no marvel that 
they were rejected. The prince of Gwynedd knew that he had 
but to bide his time to obtain peace on very different condi- 
tions. His ally, Morgan ap Hywel, was attacked by the Earl 
Marshall and deprived of his ancestral seat of Caerleon,'^^^ but 
he himself was not so vulnerable, and in March, 121 8, after 
long negotiations,^^* terms were granted to him which no doubt 
realised his highest expectations. Having been absolved by 
the authority of the legate from the excommunication he had 
incurred by his resistance to the pope's ward, he did homage to 
the king at Worcester in the presence of Guala, the Earl Mar- 
shall, and all the magnates of the realm, and was confirmed 
in the possession of all his conquests. ^^^ The royal castles of 
Cardigan and Carmarthen, to which he could lay no hereditary 
claim, were formally placed in his custody, to be maintained 
at his own charges until the king was of age '^^^ and could 

2" " Lewelinus fuit [apud] Woluedale \sic MS.] in Ros" — Ann. C. MS. C. 
in the same year as its notice of Henry's coronation. 

212 Rymer, i. 148. 

213 B.T. 302 ; L'Histoire de Guillaume le Marechal, ed. Paul Meyer (Paris, 
1894), ii. 277-9. Morgan had succeeded his father Hywel (for whom see p. 572) 
about 1210; he attests a Bassaleg charter of 1214-6 (Mon. Angl. iv. 634) as 
" Morgan de Karlion". 

21^ A settlement was expected in November, 1217 — see Rymer, i. 149. 

215 The documents will be found in Rymer, i. 150 ; Rot. Clans, i. 378-9 ; Pat. 
Rolls, Hen. III. i. 143. The date was i6th March. 

218 This term, which is definitely mentioned in the crown missive to the men 
of the castelries of Cardigan and Carmarthen, was a common one at the time, it 


CHAP, dispose of them as he pleased. The lands of Gwenwynwyn, 
" including Montgomery, were similarly vested in him as custodian 
until the heirs of his old rival attained their majority. He did 
not succeed in obtaining the restoration of Caerleon,^^'^ but in 
all other respects the peace was greatly to the advantage of 
Wales, and Llywelyn had no difficulty in persuading the lesser 
^ princes to follow his example and render homage to a king 
whose counsellors showed so pacific a spirit. ^^^ 

The Earl Marshall, pattern of chivalry as he was, nowhere 
appears in a more unselfish and patriotic light than in this 
surrender, for the sake of the security of Henry's trembling 
throne, of two castles in the future of which he was, as lord of 
Pembroke, most intimately concerned. It was certainly not 
to his private advantage that Cardigan and Carmarthen should 
be held by the powerful prince of North Wales, but he waived 
this consideration in view of the urgent necessity of a general 
pacification which would give England time to recover from 
the wounds of civil war. The desire to put an end to strife 
was general ; Earl Ranulf of Chester came to terms with 
Llywelyn,'^^^ leaving to him his acquisition of Mold, and then 
set out for the East, with other great English lords who wished 
to draw the sword in nobler quarrels than had of late engaged 
them. The year 121 8 closed in profounder peace between 
English and Welsh than had been seen for many a long year, 
and yet the struggle had not exhausted the energy of 
Llywelyn, who had merely completed the first stage in his 
victorious career, the period of growth, of youthful triumph, of 
ascendancy achieved. He had still before him many years of 
strenuous and successful work, of assured supremacy, of good 
fortune which scarcely knew a rebuff. 

being held that no valid grant in perpetuity could be made while the king was a 
minor — see Trans. Roy. Hist. Soc. II. xviii. (1904), 280. 

217 According to the author of the metrical life of the Earl Marshall, there 
was a debate on the question at Worcester (ii. 279-82). 

218 B.T. 304; Rymer, i. 151 (Rot. Claus. i. 362); Pat. Rolls, Hen. III. i. 


2iM«M. Cest.s.a. 




(In addition to the Close and Patent Rolls and Rymer's Foedera, Shirley's 
Letters of the Reign of Henry III. supplies much useful record material. Chron- 
icles are represented by Wendover and the Annates Monastici. Of modern 
works I have used Tout's History of England from 1216 to 1377.) 

I. From the Peace of Worcester to the Kerry 

The history of Llywelyn, from the Peace of Worcester until CHAP, 
his death in 1240, is that of a prince who was supreme beyond 
challenge in his hereditary dominions and who could therefore 
pursue a bold and independent policy in matters external, un- 
fettered by the fear of trouble at home. An attempt will first 
be made to outline the course and development of this policy 
down to the time when advancing years moderated the am- 
bition and checked the energy of Llywelyn, and thereafter a 
brief sketch will be given of the background of domestic 
security, disturbed only by family discords, which was the 
basis of the power of the strongest ruler Wales had known 
since the Norman Conquest.^ 

If the Peace of Worcester be carefully considered, it will be 
seen to rest upon the assumption that Llywelyn was to be 
humoured and pacified rather than coerced, to be won to 
loyalty to the young king by the fullest recognition of his 
predominance in Wales and not driven into rebellion by irk- 
some restrictions upon his power. This was the liberal and 
statesmanlike policy adopted by Guala and by the Earl 
Marshall, and, though the return of the legate to Italy in 
November, 121 8, and the death of the earl in May, 1219, ere 
long removed from the scene the two men chiefly responsible 

^The chronology of B.T. is correct from 1218 to 1240, but there is much 
confusion in both MSS. of ^nn, Camb. 



CHAP, for it, it was not sensibly modified during the next few years. 
The new legate, Pandulf, who exercised the chief control over 
English affairs until July, 1221, was no less friendly to 
Llywelyn than his predecessor had been, nor did the justiciar, 
Hubert de Burgh, who, after the departure of Pandulf, stepped 
into the position of chief minister of the crown, think it at all 
necessary to depart from the old footing of confidence and 
goodwill. Though there was much negotiation and confer- 
ence about matters in dispute, nothing like a breach between 
the government and Llywelyn took place until 1223. On 
lOth July, 1 219, Pandulf had an amicable meeting with the 
prince at Shrewsbury,^ Early in May, 1220, there was at 
the same place an important border council, attended by the 
legate, the justiciar and the Archbishop of Canterbury,^ when 
Llywelyn was gratified by two concessions, the grant of a 
market to his Warwickshire manor of Bidford * and the re- 
cognition of his son David as his heir.^ At the beginning 
of July, 1 22 1, he was once more at Shrewsbury, whither the 
court had come to settle a dispute between him and Rhys 
leuanc.® The latter complained that, although Maelgwn, his 
uncle, had received Carmarthen in accordance with the parti- 
tion of 1 2 16, he had not been established in Cardigan, as that 
compact had provided. Llywelyn, who had at first resented 
the demand and seized Rhys's castle of Aberystwyth, yielded 
the point at Shrewsbury, but the grant of a market to Elles- 
mere ^ and other favours ^ he received show that his prestige 

2 Letters, Hen. HI. i. 136. Shirley assigns the letter to 1220, but it cannot 
be separated from another despatched by Pandulf from the same place on nth 
July, which most certainly belongs to 12 19. See H. and St. i. 457-8. 

^ Rymer, i. 159. Worcester and 7th January had originally been fixed for 
this meeting [Rot. Claus. i. 434), but at Llywelyn's request the day had been put 
off to gth February (Letters, Hen. HL i. 58-g ; 76). This arrangement, again, 
was upset by the need for Pandulf s presence in London (Rymer, i. 158). For 
the letter in which Llywelyn expresses his readiness to come to Shrewsbury see 
Letters, Hen. III. i. 1 13-14. 

* Rot. Claus. i. 417, 419. 

^ Rymer, i. 159. This is the earliest allusion to David. 

^B.T. is the authority for this dispute and its settlement. Independent 
evidence as to the Shrewsbury meeting is afforded by Pat. Rolls, H. 111. i. 294 
(safe-conduct for Llywelyn, 23rd June) and Rot. Claus. i. 463 (letters dated 
from Shrewsbury, 28th June to 2nd July). 

' Rot. Claus. i. 463. 

^ On 3rd July (Bridgenorth), an annual pension of ten marks was granted to 
Llywelyn's clerk, Ystrwyth (ibid. 464). 


had not suffered. In January, 1222, he was specially pro- CHAP, 
tected in the enjoyment of his manors of Suckley and Bidford,^ 
and, when Rhys leuanc died in the August of this year,^*^ it 
was with the royal authority that he took charge of the lands 
of the deceased,^^ and, in default of a direct heir, divided them 
between Maelgwn and Owain ap Gruffydd. He was still treated 
by the crown as its best friend and supporter in all dealings 
with the princes of Wales. 

Yet the situation was none the less made difficult and 
precarious by the inevitable feuds between the Welsh and the 
marcher lords. There were unsettled questions, such as the 
ownership of Maelienydd, claimed by Hugh Mortimer from its 
Welsh lords, relatives and vassals of Llywelyn,^^ Petty local 
quarrels were certain to draw the great men into their toils and 
ultimately to involve the king and the prince in a conflict on 
the grand scale. With one of the border magnates Llywelyn, 
indeed, maintained throughout the most cordial relations, 
amounting to a veritable alliance. Earl Ranulf of Chester 
had a fellow-feeling for a great territorial lord whose franchises 
were threatened by the activity of the central government, and 
his warm support of Llywelyn relieved the prince from all fear 
of hostilities along the Cheshire border. On the day of 
Ranulf 's return to Chester from the crusade, namely, i6th 
August, 1220, the two magnates met in that city,^^ and in 1222 
the bond was drawn closer by the marriage of the earl's 
nephew and heir, John the Scot, to Llywelyn's daughter 
Helen.^^ With other marcher lords there were not the same 

^Rot. Claus. i. 486, 487. 

1" B.T. 310. He was buried in Strata Florida. 

11 See the writ of nth August in Rot. Fin. i. 91. 

i** See Llywelyn's case in Letters, Hen. HL i. 122-3, which is clearly a reply 
to the demand of loth May, 1220 (Worcester — Rot. Claus. i. 418). Hugh 
Mortimer H. had succeeded to the Wigmore barony on the death of his father 
Roger in June, 1214 {Rot. Norm. H. cxxi.). 

^^ Ann. Cestr. s.a. 

1* Ibid. In Owen, Catalogue, 357, will be found an abstract of the marriage 
settlement (from Harl. MS. 2044), which shows that Llywelyn gave his daughter 
Bidford, Suckley, and Willington (in Shropshire) in frank marriage. The 
witnesses include Reiner, bishop of St. Asaph, Hugh, abbot of St. Werburgh's 
(d. 1226), Philip of Orreby, justice of Chester, Ednyfed Fychan, his son Goronwy, 
Master Ystrwyth and Master Adam. The original agreement, with Llywelyn's 
seal attached, is also in the British Museum, being Cotton Charter, xxiv. 17 — see 
Owen, 526. 


CHAP, ties of friendship ; Hugh Mortimer and Llywelyn were often 
at odds,^^ and after the desertion of 1217 Reginald de Breos 
was also suspect. It was probably with the idea of harassing 
Reginald that the Welsh prince in 12 19 gave his daughter 
Margaret to the young John de Breos, son of the younger 
William of that name, who had just been released from a long 
captivity, and was seeking, with a very substantial title, to oust 
his uncle from the family estates.^" Llywelyn took Gower 
from Rhys Gryg to bestow it upon John,^^ and in December, 
1 22 1, encouraged him to repair the demolished castle of 
Swansea. ^^ 

But Llywelyn's chief enemy was the new Earl of Pembroke. 
William Marshall the younger had succeeded to his father's 
wide domains in England, Ireland, and Wales, but not to his 
high office in the state. It was but to be expected, therefore, 
that he should regard Welsh affairs, not with the broad outlook 
of a statesman, but as a mere marcher lord, regretting danger- 
ous concessions to the dominant power in Wales. The main- 
tenance of the peace between Llywelyn and the Earl Marshall 
was a problem which gave Pandulf and the justiciar no ordinary 
trouble, and it was well for the prince that William, as a 
prominent member of the baronial opposition under John, was 
for a time by no means in good standing at court, and received 
little more than the bare minimum of support.^^ It was 

^5 In addition to Maelienydd, there was a dispute about the manors of 
Knighton and Norton (Letters, Hen. III. i. 59-60) in the same region, which 
John had given to Thomas of Erdington in March, 1207 (Charter Rolls, i. 229) 
and which had afterwards passed to Llywelyn. 

18 For the marriage see B.T. 304. The four sons of the younger William 
de Breos (d. 1210), John, Giles, Philip, and Walter, were set at liberty in 
January, 1218 (Pat. Rolls, H. III. i. 134) — cf. Rot. Pat. i. 108 (21st January, 
1214) and Rot. Claus. i. t68 (i6th July, 1214). In the following year John and 
his mother, Matilda, who was a daughter of Earl Richard of Clare, sued Reginald 
de Breos for their rights (Rot. Claus. i. 405 ; Letters, H. III. i. 136). Except in 
Gower, however, Reginald was in possession and thus excluded his nephew in 
virtue of " casus regis " — see Pollock and Maitland, History of English Law, ii. 
p. 283. 

^"^ The ejection of Rhys from Gower is mentioned by Llywelyn himself in a 
letter which I am inclined to assign to the end of August, 1220. See Letters, 
Hen. III. i. 176 (the date July, 1221, rests on no substantial basis). 

isjS.T. 310, The date (about 6th December) comes from MS, C, and 
" sein henyd " is assumed to be Swansea. 

1* William was one of the twenty-five executors of Magna Carta. He took 
a leading part in the movement on behalf of Louis, and, notwithstanding his 



perhaps the knowledge of this mistrust of the earl which CHAP, 
encouraged Llywelyn in 1220 to venture upon an attack, ^V^- 
crowned at the moment with success, but ultimately followed 
by a bitter retribution.^^ He had more than once complained 
to the legate of the conduct of the earl's tenants in Pembroke- 
shire, who, regardless of the truce, made inroads upon the 
Welsh inhabitants of Dyfed, lifted their cattle, burned their 
churches, and carried off captives.^^ In the August of this 
year he resolved to take measures of reprisal ; neglecting a 
promise he had made to appear at Oxford on the second of 
the month for the settlement of all outstanding matters of 
dispute, he gathered a great host and marched southward, 
to the alarm of the government, who at first suspected a 
design upon Reginald de Breos.^^ Authority had been given 
to Llywelyn, probably at Shrewsbury in the preceding May, to 
eject by force such Welsh princes as were still holding baronial 
lands,^^ and, on arriving in the valley of the Towy on the 29th, 
he had, after a skirmish at Carmarthen, persuaded Rhys Gryg 
to give up Kidwelly, Carnwyllion, Widigada, and Gower.^* 
But he soon turned to more congenial work. In the first few 

father's position, did not join the young king until March, 1217 (Trans. Roy, 
Hist. Soc. II. xviii. 263). At the time of Llywelyn's raid, there was a question 
at issue between him and the Government, viz., his retention of Fotheringay 
Castle — see Patent Rolls, H. III. i. 236, 257, 272 ; Rot. Claus. i. 429 ; Letters, 
H. III. i. 150. He was, as he complained, not asked to join in the expedition of 
January, 1221, against the Count of Aumale (Letters, i. 170-1). Cf. as to his 
position. Letters, i. 244-6. 

20 For this raid see Ann. Camb. MSS. B. and C. ; B.T. 306; Ann. Dunst, 
s.a. 1220 ; Rymer, i. 164. 

21 See the letter in Letters, H. III. i. 141-2, which I am inclined to assign to 
1219 rather than to 1220, as being of the nature of an appeal from one who had 
no design of immediate vengeance. 

^^Rot. Claus. i. 428 (Striguil, 21st August). 

"^^ This authority is mentioned by Ann. Dunst. and also in the royal letter to 
Llywelyn of 5th October, 1220 (Rymer, i. 164). 

2^ Letters, H. III. i. 176. " Die Veneris ante decollationem S. Johannis 
Baptistae" is to be compared with the " gwyl levan y kols" of B.T. Rhys 
Gryg had received Kidwelly and Carnwyllion in 1216 ; they were now restored 
to Hawise, the heiress of Thomas of London (Pat. Rolls, H. III. i. 291-2). 
The . . . gada of Shirley's text is, no doubt, Widigada, the part of Cantref 
Mawr between the Gwili and the Cothi, which had come to be regarded as an 
appurtenance of the castle of Carmarthen (Royal Charters of Carmarthen, 
Alcwyn Evans, 1878, 43, 46). An ode of Prydydd y Moch shows that Rhys 
afterwards took part in the raid upon Pembrokeshire. See Myv. Arch. I. 293 
(207) : Kastell gwis kystyngeist yn gleu. Ac ar berth gosymerth goleu. 


CHAP, days of September, he destroyed the two castles of Narberth 


and Wiston, set fire to the town of Haverford '^^ (the castle was 
not in this case attacked) and mercilessly ravaged the cantref 
of Rhos. From his quarters at the priory of Pill on Milford 
Haven,^^ he threatened the head of the lordship itself, that 
fortress which had never yet been the prize of a Welsh victory, 
but the men of Pembroke bought off the attack by promising 
a payment of ;^ioo to the redoubtable lord of Gwynedd. 
Llywelyn then returned to the north, having inflicted enormous 
damage upon the Earl Marshall ^^ and made of him an im- 
placable foe. 

It was not, of course, to be expected that the legate and 
the justiciar would countenance these proceedings, and the 
appeals of the Earl Marshall for protections^ were in due 
course, though not with any extraordinary haste, answered by 
the declaration of 5 th October,^" that the king had not author- 
ised the doings of Llywelyn and that his name had been used 
without warrant in the affair. At the same time, the men of 
Pembroke were released from payment of the promised tribute, 
and Llywelyn was ordered to transfer to the bishop of London 
and another the custody of the lands he had taken from Welsh 
princes in virtue of the recent commission.^^ But at the time 
there was no further development ; the prince of North Wales 
was soon restored to full favour, and the feud between him and 
the earl, like a hidden volcanic fire, slept a guileful slumber. 
The hot and flaming outburst which was the true sequel to the 
great Pembrokeshire raid did not break forth until 1223, when 
the Earl Marshall seized his opportunity for a most signal 

"^^ Restored since its capture by the Welsh in 1215. 

''^On 5th September {Ann. Camb. MS. C). The lordship of Haverford had 
been granted to the elder William Marshall in October, 1213 (Rot. Pat. i. 105 ; 
cf. Rot. Claus. i. 158-9). 

27 " Deinde apud pil {sic MS.) in ros pernoctauit " {Ann. Camb. MS. B). 
The priory of Pill, which stood a little to the north of the modern town of 
Milford Haven, was a cell of St. Dogmael's, founded by Adam of Roch, a knight 
of Rhos, about the year 1200 {Mon. Angl. iv. 502-5 ; Fenton (2), 100, 327). 

28 According to Ann. Dunst. the amount of the loss was greater than that of 
King Richard's ransom (;;f 100,000) — a wild exaggeration which shows that the 
injury done was very substantial. 

29 See Letters, H. III. i. 143-4, 144-5, ^5^- 
3" Rymer, i. 164. 3i Rot. Claus. i. 431. 


In the beginning of this year,^^ for some unexplained rea- CHAP, 
son, Llywelyn crossed the Shropshire border and took the ^VIII. 
castle of Kinnerley, near Knockin,^^ and, not long afterwards, 
the more important fortress of Whittington, which stood not far 
from his manor of Ellesmere and was the property of Foulk 
fitz Warren.^* The king and the justiciar, who were in the 
valley of the Trent, moved westward to Shrewsbury, which 
they reached on 7th March,'^ in the hope of composing the 
quarrel. But, though Earl Ranulf appeared to plead the 
cause of his friend Llywelyn,^* no settlement was arrived at. 
At this juncture the Earl Marshall landed on 1 5th April in 
the neighbourhood of St. David's with an army he had col- 
lected in Ireland ; on the 24th he took Cardigan and on the 
26th Carmarthen, in both cases without opposition.^^ He also 
regained Emlyn and fortified its castle of Cilgerran. Llywelyn 
sent his son Gruffydd with an army to block the earl's pro- 
gress towards England, but the latter took the sea route and 
was in his lordship of Nether Went by the middle of May.^^ 
Vain attempts at reconciliation occupied the summer, which, as 
they were based on the assumption that the earl had done a ser- 
vice to the crown in snatching the two royal castles from the 
grasp of Llywelyn, only embittered the quarrel,^^ and thus it 

32 The story of this year must be pieced together from the following 
sources: Ann. Camb. MSS. B. C. ; B.T. s.a.; Ann. Dunst. ; Wendover, iv. 71-2 
(wrongly inserted s.a. 1221) and 84-5 (where the events of 1220 and 1223 are run 
together) ; Rymer, i. 168, i6g, 170 ; Pat. Rolls, H. III. i. 413, 481. 

33 The "dies captionis castri de Kinardesle " is often mentioned (Rymer, i. 
170 ; Pat. Rolls, i. 481) as the day of the outbreak of war. The place was then 
held by Baldwin of Hodnet (Rot. Claus. i. 554), but the vill really belonged to 
Madog (ap Gruffydd ab lorwerth Goch) of Sutton (Eyton, Shrops. xi. pp. 23-8). 

34 Foulk had been established at Whittington, in succession to the Welsh 
lords of Maelor Saesneg, in October, 1204 {Rot. Pat. i. 46). He was allowed to 
fortify his castle in June, 1221, but the concession was, in view of his record as, a 
rebel baron, somewhat grudgingly made {Rot. Claus. i. 460 — cf. 520). 

^^ Rot. Claus. i. s^6. ^^ Ann. Dunst. 

37 For the dates see Ann. Camb. MS. C. and B.T. MS. B. 

38 On i6th May, at Westminster, the expenses were paid in advance of a 
royal messenger going to Usk with a letter for the earl {Rot. Claus. i. 546). 

39 It is said in B.T. that Llywelyn and the earl met before the king's council 
at Ludlow. A meeting at this place was certainly projected, to be held on 12th 
July (Pat. Rolls, H. III. i. 376), but there is no direct evidence that the purpose 
was fulfilled. One may note, however, after that date a distinct stiffening in the 
attitude of the government, as shown by ostentatious patronage of the sons of 
Gwenwynwyn (Pat. Rolls, i. 378) and cordial acknowledgment of the services of 
the Earl Marshall (Rot. Claus. i. 571). 

VOL. n. 20 


CHAP, came about that early in September the prince of Gwynedd laid 
^^^"* siege to the Breos fortress of Builth.*** Hubert de Burgh, the 
king's chief counsellor, now realised that a serious situation 
had arisen ; the knighthood of the realm was summoned to a 
formal campaign against the Welsh, and on the 1 9th assembled 
at Hereford for the relief of the beleaguered castle. A hasty 
march up the valley of the Wye compelled Llywelyn to re- 
linquish his prey and the royal host then made its way north 
to Montgomery.*^ It was resolved that this important stra- 
tegic point should no longer be held by so formidable a per- 
sonage as the ruler of Southern Powys,*^ but should be taken 
over by the crown and converted into a border stronghold of 
the first rank. Ere long the walls and towers of New Mont- 
gomery began to crown the narrow, precipitous ridge, admir- 
ably suited for defence, which here juts out into the vale of 

It was now time for Llywelyn to draw rein and consider 
his position. His hereditary dominions were in no real danger, 
but his authority and influence in South Wales and in Powys 
were in serious jeopardy. He had forfeited, of the gains of 
the civil war, Cardigan, Carmarthen, and Montgomery, and his 
South Welsh allies, Rhys Gryg, Owain ap Gruffydd, and Mael- 
gwn ap Rhys ** ran the risk of losing everything in his cause. 
Confronted by the united strength of the English realm, he 
resolved to safeguard the substantial power he still retained 
by a timely submission, and found no difficulty in securing 
tolerable terms. On 7th October Langton absolved him 
from the sentence of excommunication which, according to 

*" R3mier, i. 170. Reginald had in 12 19 been aided by the crown to put the 
castle in a state of defence (Rot. Claus. i. 409). 

*i The following dates are supplied by the Close and Patent Rolls : Hereford, 
19th September; Brenles (= Bronllys), 20th; Hereford, 24th; Leominster, 
25th, 26th; Shrewsbury, 29th ; Montgomery, 3oth-iith October; Shrewsbury, 

42 See p. 649. 

*2 The rolls are full for the next few months of references to building opera- 
tions, etc., at Montgomery. The emphasis laid on the fact that this was New 
Montgomery (see especially Charter Rolls, i. loi) leaves no doubt that the former 
castle and town stood elsewhere, probably at Hen Domen. 

** The three are mentioned as " inprisii " of Llywelyn in Pat. Rolls, H. HL 
i. 413, 481. On the other side was Cynan ap Hywel (see p. 634), who seized Is 
Aeron during this war, but ultimately received Emlyn and Ystlwyf from his patron, 
the Earl Marshall {Ann. Camb. MS. C. ; Letters, H. HL i. 427). 


the regular Canterbury practice, had been launched against chap. 
him ; *^ on the 8th, he made his peace with Henry at Mont- 
gomery, accompanied by his allies, Rhys Gryg, Maelgwn, 
Maredudd ap Rhotpert, Madog ap Gruffydd and others of 
less note/® The basis of the agreement was that Llywelyn 
should resign his Shropshire conquests, while the South Welsh 
princes who acted with him were in return to receive again the 
lands of which they had been deprived by the Earl Marshall.^''^ 
For his own losses there was to be no reparation, and Cardi- 
gan and Carmarthen were soon formally transferred to the 
custody of their conqueror. ^^ 

This was the only serious check sustained by Llywelyn 
during the reign of Henry, and it was due to the fact that for 
the moment unity reigned in England, so that the justiciar 
could act promptly and without hesitation. Old parties were 
breaking up ; the Earl Marshall, now fully established in 
favour, received the king's sister, Eleanor, in marriage,"*^ and 
in May, 1224, was sent to rule Ireland as justiciar.''*^ But, 
while the government was making new friends, it was losing 
old ones, and thus the general concord was no sooner set on 
foot than it was again broken up by the defection of supporters 
of long standing. Immediately after the peace with Llywelyn, 
the first formidable movement against Hubert de Burgh took 
shape ; the Earl of Chester, Bishop Peter of Winchester, 
Falkes of Breaut6, Engelard of Cigogn6, and many others 
who had served the royalist cause under John and during the 
minority resented the power of the justiciar, which appeared 

** There was also a " generate interdictum in Wallia" (Ann. Cest. s.a.). 

■"* Rhys and Maelgwn had set out to make their submission on 21st Sep- 
tember and duly rendered it on 7th October (Rot. Claus. i. 564-5 ; Patent Rolls, 
I. 386). 

'*'' A commission, consisting of six supporters of Llywelyn and six of the earl, 
was appointed to determine by inquest what each prince held before the outbreak 
of hostilities (Pat, Rolls, i. 481). A document cited by Bridgeman (Pees. S. Wales, 
100-2) shows that in 1222 Maelgwn still held Llandovery, Emlyn, Cemais, Ys- 
tlwyf, Gwinionydd, and Mabwnion, assigned to him in 1216. 

•»8 Pat. Rolls, i. 413-4 (7th November) ; Rot. Claus. i. 574 (6th and 8th No- 
vember). The pope's letters of 5th October, 1223 (Rymer, i. 180 has i225, incor- 
rectly) to the Archbishop of Canterbury (Papal Letters, i. 93), and the Archbishop 
of York (Letters, H. IIL i. 212-4) arrived, of course, too late to aifect the situa- 

*^Ann. Theokesb., Winton., Waverl. Cf. Pat. Rolls, i. 426. 

»o Pat. Rolls, i. 437. 

20 * 


CHAP, to grow rather than decline as the king reached years of dis- 
■ cretion. A renewal of civil war seemed imminent. As it 
chanced, the storm cloud passed by, with no more momentous 
result than the fall of Falkes, who carried his opposition a 
step too far, and, finding no support in his deeds of insolent 
violence, was forced to quit the realm, after the king's success- 
ful siege of his castle of Bedford. But, though Falkes failed to 
enlist the help of Lly welyn and of the Earl of Chester,^^ the 
breach between the justiciar and his enemies was not healed, 
and Llywelyn was emboldened to tell the king that his liber- 
ties were as large as those of the king of Scotland, and gave 
him the right, if he chose, to harbour fugitives from English 
justice. His language, though not wanting in dignified cour- 
tesy towards a suzerain and near relative, bespeaks the con- 
sciousness of power ; with a divided England against him, he 
resumes the tone of confidence and independence. 

Years of comparative quiet followed, during which conflict 
was avoided both by Llywelyn and the English government. 
The former thought it prudent to risk nothing by further acts 
of aggression ; the latter was content to see the prince of 
Gwynedd powerful, as long as his power led to no disturbance 
on the march. In January, 1227, Henry declared himself of 
age, but the end of the minority by no means involved the 
withdrawal of Hubert de Burgh from the active control of 
affairs ; rather, it enabled him to enhance his authority by 
dispensing with the aid of other counsellors, and the justiciar 
was, after this declaration even more than before it, the real 
governor of the realm. His friendly disposition towards 
Llywelyn is evinced in many ways. The agreement of 
October, 1223, was to be followed by a more elaborate and 
permanent settlement, and, after many delays, due not to any 

** When Falkes fled before the royal attack upon him to Wales (Wendover, 
iv. 96), the king, at the suggestion of the bishop of Lichfield (Rymer, i. 175), 
wrote to Llywelyn, urging him not to receive or give encouragement to the 
fugitive. Llywelyn's reply will be found in Letters, i. 229-30. Falkes had, in 
fact, come and gone (by way of Chester) on the same day, and by loth July was 
secretly making his way back across the border (Rot. Claus. i. 632). On 4th 
August the bishop of Lichfield brought the Earl of Chester a letter from the 
king, asking him to safeguard the peace of the marches, whereupon the earl met 
Llywelyn and arranged a month's truce (Letters, i, 233-5). Both magnates 
seek in their letters to exonerate Falkes, but the earl nevertheless joined in the 
siege of Bedford. 


reluctance on the Welsh side, but to the king's other more CHAP. 

pressing engagements,^'^ a meeting for the purpose took place 

at Shrewsbury at the end of September, 1224.^^ All appears 
to have gone off well, and Joan, who had prepared the way 
for the conference by an interview with the king at Wor- 
cester,''* was rewarded in February, 1225, by the gift of the 
royal manor of Rothley, in Leicestershire.^^ Llywelyn, in 
turn, showed his goodwill in the following summer by sending 
Henry a present of goshawks, falcons, and sparrow hawks ^'^ 
— a fit compliment from the lord of the crags of Eryri. Another 
meeting was now planned, but successive postponements ''^ 
pushed it on until the end of August, 1226, when the king 
was once more at Shrewsbury, and Joan and Llywelyn, with 
their son David, came thither to meet him.^^ In the April of 
this year Honorius III., acting, no doubt, on a suggestion 
from the English court, had granted to Joan a dispensation 
which declared her of lawful birth,'*'' and advantage was taken 
of the Shrewsbury interview of this year to bestow upon her 
yet another manor, that of Condover in Shropshire.^*^ Husband 
and wife stood well with the government and received many 
marks of its friendly favour.®^ 

In Wales itself there were few changes, and such as there 
were increased rather than diminished the power of Llywelyn. 

^2 3rd February (J?o<. Claus. i. 574), 5th, 12th May (Rymer, i. 172), 19th, 
28th July {Rot. Claus. i. 631), and 8th September (Pat. Rolls, i. 489) were 
successively proposed by the king. 

^3 See the safe-conduct of 23rd September in Pat. Rolls, i. 471. 

•^^ On 24th September, at Shrewsbury, the king orders the exchequer to 
allow the sheriff of Salop ;^8 7s. 4d. paid by him towards the expenses of Joan's 
journey to Worcester {Rot. Claus. i. 622). Henry was at Worcester on 19th 
September {ibid. 621). 

■^' Rot. Claus. ii. 18 (de manerio de Roel). Its annual value was £25. 

®8 Ibid. 47. 

^"^ The dates proposed were 27th April, 8th July (Rymer, i. 178), 15th 
August {Rot. Claus. ii. 72), 3rd November, 1225, 29th March, 1226 {ibid, 83). 

5** The general safe-conduct of 28th July (Patent Rolls, ii. 56) was supple- 
mented by the more precise document of 27th August {ibid. 59). Henry's 
itinerary at this time is as follows: Hereford, i5th-2ist August; Leominster, 
22nd ; Lydbury North, 23rd ; Shrewsbury, 27th-29th ; Wenlock, 29th ; Bridge- 
north, 30th. 

*" Papal Letters, i. 109. 

"" Rot. Claus. ii. 135 (29th August). 

"'See especially, Pat. Rolls, ii. iio-ii (13th February, 1227), 112 (i8th 
March, 1227). 


CHAP. Death removed two of his old enemies about this time ; in 

November, 1227, Hugh Mortimer was succeeded at Wigmore 

by his brother Ralph,*'^ and in the following June Reginald 

de Breos died,"^ to be succeeded by his son William.®* William 

Marshall turned his attention from South Wales to Ireland, 

and in August, 1226, the king took from him the custody of 

the castles of Cardigan and Carmarthen, which he entrusted 

to his own officers,®^ There was now less danger that the 

Marshall influence might overshadow the whole of the South 

and reduce to insignificance Llywelyn's authority over the 

princes of that region. That authority was still vigilantly 

exercised and justified itself in the protection which the lord 

of Gwynedd was able to afford to his allies of Deheubarth. 

In February, 1225, the appearance of two envoys of Llywelyn 

at Westminster *® was followed by a warning to the Earl 

Marshall's bailiff to respect the rights of Maelgwn,^^ whose 

lands lay in Dyfed and Southern Ceredigion, while in April 

of the same year he obtained the appointment of a commission 

of ten, five representing himself and five the earl, to meet at 

Pont Rheidol, near Aberystwyth, for the purpose of making 

a proper partition between Maelgwn and his nephews, Cynan 

ap Hywel and Owain ap Gruffydd.®^ Cynan had been on the 

8" Hugh was reported to be on his death-bed on 8th November (Pat. Rolls, 
ii. 169) ; on the 23rd, Ralph, having paid a relief of ;^ioo, was put in possession 
of his lands (tijd. 171). 

83 There was a false report of his death in June, 1222 (Pat. Rolls, i. 334; 
Rot. Clatts. i. 500). From Rot. Fin. i. 172 it is clear that it took place early in 
June, 1228. His son William succeeded to his lands on 13th July, 1228 (Pat. 
Rolls, ii. 194; Rot. Fin. i. 174). 

^* William was of mature years, for as early as August, 1218, his father 
handed over to him his Sussex honours of Knap and Bramber (Pat. Rolls, i. 165). 
Hence he was not the son of Gwladus, Llywelyn's daughter (see p. 645) but of 
an earlier marriage. 

8» Pat. Rolls, ii. 80-1 (Rymer, i. 182) ; ii. 58 (Hereford, i8th August). Henry 
Audley was succeeded as keeper by John de Breos (25th October, 1226 — Pat. 
Rolls, ii. 66) and he in turn by Walter Clifford (25th April, 1228 — ibid. 184). 

88 Two marks were paid on i6th February to Master Philip and " Wrenno," 
envoys of Llywelyn, for their home-going expenses (Rot. Clans, ii. 18). 

^"^ Ibid. ii. 17 (15th February). The same envoys obtained a writ in favour 
of the widow of Robert ap Madog, who had nursed one of Llywelyn's daughters. 
Robert was a Welsh tenant of the honour of Montgomery and had fought for 
Llywelyn in 1223 (Rymer, i. 170 ; Rot. Claus. i. 611, 623 ; ii. 8, 16, 17). 

88 The appointment of the commission (perhaps because that of November, 
1223 — see note 47 above— had proved abortive) was asked for by Llywelyn, 
through his messenger David, and granted on 14th April (Rymer, i. 178). 


earl's side in the conflict of 1223,^^ and Owain was in tempor- CHAP. 

ary opposition to Llywelyn, 

The second break in the good relations between Llywelyn 
and the government came in 1228, and, as it was not provoked 
by any aggression on the part of the Welsh leader, so it came 
to an end without diminishing his power and prestige, which 
indeed were greatly augmented. Early in the year the re- 
sumption by the king of the manors of Rothley and Con- 
dover^** seems to indicate a less friendly attitude towards 
Llywelyn, but the event which directly led to hostilities was 
the grant to Hubert de Burgh, on 27th April, of the castle and 
lordship of Montgomery, which had been in the king's hands 
since 1223.'^^ Not only did a very strong border fortress thus 
come under the direct control of the energetic justiciar, but, 
from the orders given for the clearing of the forest which lay 
to the south-west of it and protected the Welsh commote of 
Kerry, it appeared likely that the new lord had a scheme of 
conquest afoot.^^ Welsh levies gathered in haste around the 
spot, and in August the castle was so closely beset that Henry 
and the justiciar hurried to its relief.'^^ As yet Llywelyn had 
not himself taken the field, but hoped for a peaceful settlement ; 
his wife met the king at Shrewsbury and arranged a truce, 
and early in September polite letters passed between Henry 
and his brother-in-law, in which the latter apologised for the 
way in which his men had interfered with the royal com- 
missariat, and the former accepted the apology and expressed 
the desire to receive more substantial proofs of Llywelyn's 
professed goodwill. ^^ But war was nevertheless inevitable ; 

David came back on 3rd June (see the order for payment of his expenses on the 
4th — Rot. Claus. ii. 43) to say that Owain ap Gruffydd, who now held Northern 
Ceredigion, would not give up the commote of Creuddyn to Maelgwn, to whom 
the commissioners had awarded it (ibid. 73). 

69 Note 44. 

''^Rot. Fin. i. 169 (27th March) ; Close Rolls, Hen. Ill, i. 50 (i6th May). 

•'I Charter Rolls, i. 74. Cf. Pat. Rolls, H. III. ii. 186. 

''^ Wendover (iv. 172-4) is the principal authority for the campaign. The 
names of Cefn y Coed, Bron y Coed and Goetre still preserve the memory of 
the " silvam quae spatiosa erat nimis habens quinque leucarum longitudinis ". 

^3 Henry's itinerary, as extracted from the rolls, is as follows : Bridgenorth, 
28th August; Shrewsbury, 29th-3ist; Montgomery, 3rd-23rd September; 
Shrewsbury, 24th ; Kerry, 25th-4th October. 

''* The king's letter, dated 8th September, is in Close Rolls, i. 116, and Letters, 
'• 335-6. It refers to the truce, which was no doubt arranged by Joan under 


CHAP, already the leading: men of the march, the Earls of Gloucester 

and Pembroke, William de Breos, Roger Clifford and others, 

had been summoned to Montgomery,^^ and, when the royal 
host invaded Kerry and Hubert began to build there another 
strong castle, to threaten Llywelyn's lands in Arwystli, the 
prince of Gwynedd plunged without hesitation into the fray. 
The Welsh had much in their favour in this campaign, the 
help of the country folk, including the men of the grange of 
Cwm Hir at Gwern y Gof, who had their house burnt to the 
ground by the English for their pains,''^^ the rough, wooded 
character of the country, the difficulty of provisioning Henry's 
great army and the jealousies and dissensions of the host, who 
threw little zeal into this enterprise for making the justiciar 
still richer and greater. Thus everything went badly for the 
king ; there were many losses, the most conspicuous being the 
capture of William de Breos, while engaged in a foraging ex- 
pedition ; food ran short, and at last Hubert was forced to 
conclude that the conquest of Kerry was impossible. In 
October there was a humiliating retreat ; the commote was 
restored to Welsh rule,^'^ and Henry undertook to raze to the 
foundations the half-built castle,^^ a concession for which 
Llywelyn was glad to pay a sum of ;^2,ooo. As its walls 
were rising, the justiciar had playfully christened it " Hubert's 
Folly " ; his foes, as they watched its demolition, turned the 

protection of the safe-conduct granted to her on 13th August (Pat, Rolls, ii. 201). 
At that time Henry thought it possible Llywelyn might come also, and the 
marchers were warned not to molest him (Close Rolls, i. 114, and Letters, i. 


7» Close Rolls, i. 115. 

■" There is no evidence that a Cistercian abbey ever stood in the vale of 
Kerry, and the " habitaculum albi ordinis " must, therefore, have been a grange. 
Cwm Hir possessed, as part of its original endowment, lands at Gwern y gof, 
Caeliber, Gwenrhiw and Bahaithlon {^Rot. Chart. 206; Mon. Angl. v. 459), 
which formed the grange of Gwern y gof in the lordship of Kerry {Valor Eccl. 
iv. 407), and, after the dissolution, the manor of Hopton (App. Land Com. 452). 
Whence the name " Cridia " comes is not apparent ; I hesitate to accept the con- 
jecture, adopted by Mr, Richard Williams in his article on this campaign, that 
it is a corruption of *' Crefydd-dy " (Arch. Camb. IV. x. (1879), 249), for the term 
does not seem to have been in common use in mediceval times. It may, indeed, 
be a mere misreading of Cuira (Cumira), which is found in Wendover, iv. 222. 

''^ According to Ann. Dunst. " Justus haeres " got " terram de Keri " in return 
for a fine of 1,000 cows. 

''^ Its site cannot be fixed with certainty, but Mr. Williams's view that it 
was at Pen y Castell has much to recommend it. 


jest with pitiless irony against him and said that here indeed CHAP. 
was a prophet, and more than a prophet. 

The failure of the Kerry campaign was a serious blow to 
the authority of Hubert and showed Llywelyn that henceforth 
he had little to fear from the English government. Increas- 
ing boldness marks his attitude as he realises that England is 
divided against itself and that the opportunities which he 
found so profitable at the time of the Great Charter struggle 
are recurring in another form. 

II. From the Kerry Campaign to the Pact of Middle. 

Llywelyn had come through the troubles of 1228 with 
flying colours. His restoration to good standing at court 
was marked by the re-establishment of Joan in her manors of 
Condover and Rothley in November/^ while early in the 
following year the king gave his sanction to the terms upon 
which William de Breos obtained his liberty.^^ Important 
steps followed for the recognition of David as Llywelyn's 
successor ; after negotiations carried on through the abbot 
of Vaudey,^^ the young man went up to London at Michael- 
mas, did homage for all lands and rights that would accrue to 
him on the death of his father, and was promised a grant out 
of the royal lands of the value of £dfO a year.^^ Henry was 
now engaged in the preparations for that French expedition 
which, after some delay, set sail from Portsmouth on ist May, 
1230, and it was his desire to leave Wales at peace and its 
prince contented, a purpose to which Llywelyn lent himself 
with great readiness. The " prince of Aberffraw and lord 
of Snowdon," as he had now begun to style himself, was fully 
conscious of the improvement in his position, but he had at the 
time no adventurous designs and wished only quietly to reap 
the fruits of his victory. If the year 1230 was signalised by a 
dramatic act of vengeance upon an English baron, so ruthless 

''Close Rolls, i. 123 (8th November, Westminster). 

^^ Pat. Rolls, ii. 239 (12th February, Westminster). 

8^ Nicholas, " abbas de Valle Dei " in Lincolnshire, received a safe-conduct 
for the purpose of visiting Llywelyn about 15th July (Pat. Rolls, ii. 257). 

8* The safe-conduct for the purpose was issued at Windsor on 5th Sep- 
tember \^hid. 263), and Henry announces the result of the visit on 3rd October, 
{j.hid. 269-70 and Rymer, i. 196). The sister who came with David and is after- 
wards found in the care of Segrave (Close Rolls, i, 259) was perhaps Gwladus 
Ddu — see Pat. Rolls, ii. 248. 


CHAP, and bold as to startle the whole English realm, the deed finds 


its explanation in a cruel domestic crisis, which shook Llywelyn 

through and through, and not in any political scheme of aggres- 
sion. It was the outraged husband, not the astute politician, 
who hanged William de Breos. 

William had been set free at the beginning of 1229 upon 
promise of a ransom of ;^2,ooo,^^ a sum corresponding so pre- 
cisely to that which Llywelyn had engaged to pay to the king 
that it is reasonable to conjecture that the prince meant the 
one liability to discharge the other.^* He had also undertaken 
never again to bear arms against Llywelyn, and, as a further 
pledge of amity, had agreed to bestow upon David the hand 
of his daughter, Isabella, with the lordship and castle of Builth 
as her marriage portion. The two magnates seemed to be 
about to enter into a close alliance when the tie was suddenly 
snapped by Llywelyn's discovery of an intrigue, no doubt set 
on foot during the period of captivity, between William and his 
wife.^^ It was during a visit paid by the rash lover to Llywelyn's 
court at Eastertide that the storm broke ; the prince's suspicion 
was aroused, and he burst in upon the pair at dead of night, 
to find full confirmation of all he had feared. The confidence 
he had placed in Joan as his best friend and faithful supporter 
throughout many years was the measure of his wrath ; both 
she and her paramour were forthwith imprisoned,^^ together 
with the knights brought by the latter in his train, and in a 
few days William paid the penalty of his folly. All Wales had 
heard the news of his capture, and the enemies of his house 

83 For the terms of release see Ann. Dunst. (p. 117). 

8* This was what actually happened as to the instalment of 250 marks due 
from Llywelyn at Easter, 1229 (Pat. Rolls, ii. 241). 

^^ Brief accounts of this tragedy will be found in Ann. C. ; B.T. ; Wendover 
(iv. 209) ; Ann. Cest., Marg., Theokesb., Waverl., Wigorn ; Letters, i. 366-7. All 
agree as to the charge against William, but some of the annalists treat it as false 
and Llywelyn's action as a mere plot to justify murder. This is unlikely for many 
reasons ; against it may be urged, in particular, the fact of the imprisonment of Joan 
{Ann. Cest.), and the circumspect attitude of the government. Hubert de Burgh 
was accused at the time of his fall of having given the information which brought 
about the crisis (Wendover, iv. 247), which shows that Llywelyn was not supposed 
to have acted without good grounds. 

^^ The news of William's imprisonment reached the king at Portsmouth on 
20th April, and he forthwith made arrangements for the custody of his castles 
of Radnor, Brecon, Hay, Huntington, Abergavenny, and St. Clear's (Pat. Rolls, ii. 
336 ; cf. 339). 


hastened from every quarter to see this scion of a hated stock CHAP, 
brought to his account ; even had Llywelyn been in the mood 
to resist the tide of popular passion, he might have found it 
hard to withstand the demand that WiUiam should die. " On 
2nd May," reports the abbot of Vaudey ^^ a few days later, 
" at a certain manor called 'Crokein,' ^^ he was made 'Crogyn,' ^^ 
i.e., hanged on a tree, and this not privily or in the night time, 
but openly and in broad daylight, in the presence of more than 
800 men assembled to behold the piteous and melancholy 

It was a lamentable affair, but in no sense a declaration of 
war against England. Llywelyn treated the matter as one 
affecting William only and wrote to the widow ^^ and to her 
brother, the Earl Marshall,^^ to say that, notwithstanding the 
action of his enraged subjects, he still wished the alliance be- 
tween David and Isabella to stand. This view was apparently 
shared by the Breos family, for no separation took place. The 
very envoy who gave to the chancellor (ruling the land during 
Henry's absence) the news of the sad event was at the time ar- 
ranging for a conference between his master and Llywelyn, 
which, there is reason to think, was held near Shrewsbury about 
1 2th June and issued in a friendly agreement.^^ In August the 

'*'' Letters, i. 366-7. William's death was known to the chancellor as a 
certainty on 25th May, when he gave the custody of his lands to the Earl 
Marshall (Close Rolls, i. 353). The king did not hear of it until 31st May (Pat. 
Rolls, i. 377). 

^^"Crokein" cannot, unfortunately, be located with any certainty. The 
traditional scene of the execution is Aber (Pennant, iii. 111-12), where Gwern y 
Grog (Gallows Marsh) and Cae Gwilym Ddu (Black William's Field) are popu- 
larly associated with it. But there is reason to think that this arose from the 
notion that Llywelyn's court was always at Aber. On 15th May, he was at 
"Tynbey," i.e., Denbigh (Letters, i. 366). 

89 Yoi «' Crogyn " = hangdog, see Evans, Diet. s.v. 

*" Letters, i. 368. She was Eva, daughter of the elder William Marshall. 

^^ Ibid. 369. " Fratri carissimo " is explained by the fact that the earl was 
married to Joan's half-sister, Eleanor. 

^"^ Ibid. 366. The letters printed by Shirley in ii. 3-8 clearly refer to 
difficulties which arose between Llywelyn as lord of Buellt (for his son David) 
and William of Christchurch, seneschal of the Earl Marshall (Close Rolls, i. 355, 
489), at the time when the latter had the custody of the Breos lordship of Breck- 
nock (Close Rolls, i. 353 ; Patent Rolls, ii, 427). Further, since William writes to 
the chancellor, the letters belong to the period of Henry's absence in 1230, while 
the reference to the harvesting of crops (ii. 5) points to the September of that 
year. Now there is in them definite mention of a "colloquium " recently held 
between Llywelyn and the chancellor at " Nokesbure " (a place not yet identified) 
which resulted in an agreement, and which must surely be connected with 


CHAP, government and the Welsh leader were on the best of terms, 


■ and the former discreetly alluded to the execution of William 

as the " mischance which befell him".^^ The renewal of strife 
was due to quite other causes and may with good reason be 
chiefly ascribed to the ill-will with which Llywelyn saw the 
justiciar attempt to build up for himself a mighty power in 
South Wales. Hubert had been since the beginning of the 
reign a Welsh marcher lord in virtue of his tenure of the three 
castles of Grosmont, Skenfrith and White Castle in Upper 
Gwent,^* and in 1223 he had added to these the castle and 
honour of Montgomery. He now began to extend these 
Welsh possessions largely and on such a scale as to show that 
his aim was to wield in South Wales the authority held by 
Llywelyn in the North. In 1227 he obtained a grant of the 
region of Archenfield ^^ in Herefordshire; in 1229 he was in- 
vested with the lordships of Cardigan and Carmarthen, which 
were erected into a new marcher holding, held by the service 
of five knights.^*' At the end of 1230 the lordship of Gower 
was subordinated to this new fief, and John de Breos was told 
no longer to regard himself as a tenant of the crown. ^^ 
About the same time the death of Earl Gilbert of Gloucester in 
Britanny, leaving his wide possessions to an heir of eight, 
opened up a fresh opportunity ; ^^ Hubert obtained the 
custody of lands and heir and thus became virtual lord of 
Glamorgan, with the right to command the service of the 

the plans of Letters, i. 366 and the presence of the chancellor and Segrave at 
Shrewsbury on nth, 12th, and 13th June (Rot, Fin. i. 198; Pat. Rolls, ii. 346 ; 
Close Rolls, i. 355). 

»3 Close Rolls, i. 368. 

** See chap. xvii. note 163. The " triacastra domini justiciarii " (Arch. Camb. 
IV. X. (1879), 304) were declared to have been adjudged to Hubert by the king's 
court in a letter to the sheriff of Hereford dated 26th January, 12 19 (Rot. 
Claus. i. 386). They were claimed by the Breos family, and in 1228 John was 
for a short time allowed to hold them (Charter Rolls, i. 74), but before the end of 
the year they were recovered by the justiciar (ibid. 83), who held them at his 

"^ Originally made on 25th August, 1227 (Charter Rolls, i. 57) ; for later 
confirmations see ibid, 58, 83. Cf. also Pat. Rolls, ii. 145. 

"^ Charter Rolls, i. 100 ; Pat. Rolls, ii. 276. The grant was confirmed in 
1231 — see Pat. Rolls, ii. 424. 

^'' Pat. Rolls, ii. 417 (20th November, 1230) ; Charter Rolls, i. 127. 

'•s Gilbert died at " Penros " (Perros Guirec ?) on 25th October, on the 
way home from the French expedition. His eldest son, Richard, was born on 
4th August, 1222 (Ann. Theokesb.). 


minor chieftains of the hill-country of Morgannwg.®^ Early in CHAP. 
April, 123 1, another windfall added to the justiciar's gains ; the 
Earl Marshall died suddenly, a week after his sister's wedding 
to Earl Richard of Cornwall, the king's brother,^^^ and the 
custody of the Breos lands which the dead earl had received 
from the crown was thus set free and in a little while bestowed 
upon Hubert.^*^^ In the early summer of this year there was 
hardly a corner of South Wales where the enterprising justiciar 
had not planted his banner. 

Trouble had already been brewing on the border before 
this last grant to Hubert.^"^ The death of the Earl Marshall 
had encouraged the Welsh to attack the Breos territories, and 
the king had sent his brother Richard to the disturbed area, 
promising soon to follow in person.^"^ On the 20th of May 
he was at Hereford, where he issued orders forbidding the 
dwellers in the march to furnish the Welsh with provisions 
while the disturbance lasted.^"^ But negotiations with Llywelyn 
were proceeding, as it seemed, favourably,^"^ and the king had 
returned to the Thames valley when at the beginning of June 
the prince of Gwynedd suddenly resolved upon war and 
kindled the flames of revolt throughout the length and breadth 
of South Wales. He is said to have been stung into rebellion 
by the beheading of certain prisoners taken by the garrison of 
Montgomery,^*^^ but this step, for which Hubert de Burgh was 
responsible, was no doubt but the final item in the growing 
burden of the justiciar's offences. Gathering his warriors about 
him, Llywelyn swept southward and burnt the new settlement 

®* Pat. Rolls, ii. 412 (ist November, 1230). 

^^^ Ann. Camb. MSS. B. and C. ; Wendover, iv. 220; Ann. Theokesb. 

1"! They had at first been committed to the Earl of Cornwall (Pat. Rolls, ii. 
428 — nth April), but were afterwards transferred to Hubert {ibid. 434 — 20th 

1"^ The fullest account of the war of 1231 is that given by Wendover (iv. 
220-7), but it requires to be checked by comparison with Attn. C. MS. B. ; B.T. ; 
Ann. Cest., Marg., Theokesb., Dunst., Wigorn., and the Charter, Patent and 
Close Rolls. 

103 Close Rolls, i. 585 (Windsor, 27th " Octobris"— a slip for " Aprilis "). 

^"^ Ibid. 588. This was a favourite method of applying pressure to the 
Welsh; see Wm. Newb. ii. 5 and Gir. Camb. vi. 218 {Descr. ii. 8). 

105 Llywelyn's envoys met the king at Worcester on 27th May and plans 
were laid for a further conference of delegates at Shrewsbury on 3rd June (Rymer, 
i. 200; Pat. Rolls, ii. 436). 

108 Wendover. 


CHAP, at Montgomery ; Radnor, with its castle, and the towns of 
■ Hay and Brecon were likewise involved in fiery ruin, and in 
his rage of battle the prince did not spare the churches, in 
which the women and the clergy had taken refuge from the 
hurricane of war.^**^ Next, he made his way to Caerleon, a 
Marshall stronghold defended by Morgan ap Hywel, who 
hoped by the king's favour to recover it for his house ; the 
town was destroyed, but the castle resisted the onslaught, and 
Llywelyn then crossed the mountains to Neath, imposing by 
the way a levy of sixty marks on the terrified convent of 
Margam.^"^ He had the help of the Welsh princes of Gla- 
morgan, Rhys ap Gruffydd, Hywel ap Maredudd, and Morgan 
Gam,^°* and at the end of June with their aid took and razed 
to the ground the castle of Neath, a success soon followed by 
the capture of Kidwelly. He closed the campaign with an 
achievement which gave him peculiar pleasure. Maelgwn the 
Younger, who had just succeeded to the lands of his father 
Maelgwn in Ceredigion,^^*^ had, with Rhys Gryg and Owain ap 
Gruffydd, thrown himself with zeal into the great uprising and 
had burnt the town of Cardigan to the castle gates. In a few 
days the castle itself was battered into surrender, and Llywelyn 

1"' B.T. suggests that all four castles {" Y kestyll ") were taken, but Ann. 
Marg. says of " Aberotheny " (Aberhonddu, i.e., Brecon) "castellum non cepit," 
and Attn. C. MS. B. has "mungumriam brechoniam et haiam cum radenor 
castello ". 

i'*^ Ann. Marg. Ann. ad 1198 says Llywelyn took " castrum de Neth " about 
29th June. For Morgan see chap. xvii. note 213 ; he sued the Earl Marshall for 
Caerleon in the king's court in 1220 (Rot. Claus. i. 436), but, notwithstanding 
some threatening proceedings on the part of the crown (Pat. Rolls, i. 352, 363 ; 
ii. 82-3), " Kaerlyon " was in the earl's possession at his death (ibid. ii. 427). 

10^ For the first two see Pat. Rolls, ii. 412. Rhys was the son of Gruffydd 
ab Ifor (Cartae Glam. iii. 542), who died in 1211 (B.T. MS. C), and he was, no 
doubt, like his father (Cartae, iii. 112-13), lord of Senghenydd. Hywel was the 
son of Maredudd ap Caradog ab lestyn and his portion of Morgannwg was Mis- 
kin, to which he seems in 1228 to have added Glyn Rhondda, held by his cousin, 
Morgan ap Cadwallon (Attn. Marg. s.a. 1228, 1229; Ann. Theokesb. s.a. 1242; 
Cartae Glam. iii. 262 ; Arch. Camb. VI. i. (1901), 2). Morgan Gam (the Crooked) 
inherited Rhwng Nedd ac Afan from his father, Morgan ap Caradog ab lestyn. 

11" Maelgwn ap Rhys last appears on 20th November, 1230 (Close Rolls, i. 
458); by 14th February, 1231, his place has been taken by Maelgwn Fychan 
(Pat. Rolls, ii. 424). B.T. assigns his death to 1231, but Ann. C. MS. C. has 
" Mailgun f. resi obiit," in a passage omitted from the printed text, under an 
"annus" which is clearly 1230. Maelgwn died at Llannerch Aeron and was 
buried in the chapter house of Strata Florida (B.T.); his lands were chiefly in 
Ceredigion below Aeron. 


snatched from the grasp of the justiciar the proud fortress at CHAP, 
the mouth of the Teifi the loss of which eight years previously 
had been so mortifying a blow to his authority in South 

Llywelyn's resonant challenge was at once taken up by the 
crown, but the wheels' of Hubert's administration moved some- 
what slowly. Ecclesiastical weapons were first invoked, and 
for his offences against the church Llywelyn, with twelve of 
his allies, was excommunicated by an assembly of the bishops 
of the province of Canterbury and the sentence promulgated 
throughout England.^" Steps were taken on 2nd July for the 
relief of the castle of Newport, which was said to be hard 
pressed,"^ and on the 7th Llywelyn was deprived of his wife's 
manor of Rothley."^ It was not, however, until the month of 
July was far advanced that Henry met at Gloucester and at 
Hereford the military forces of the West which he had sum- 
moned thither for a great campaign against the Welsh.^^* 
Deliberate as these preparations were, they did not lead to 
much fighting ; instead of marching upon Llywelyn, the king's 
advisers settled down, as in 1223 and 1228, to the building 
of a fortress, and chose Painscastle, in Lower Elfael, a spot 
continually in debate between the Welsh and the house of 
Breos,^^^ as the point of vantage upon which to concentrate 
their strength. It was, no doubt, chosen with reference to its 
nearness to Llywelyn's recent acquisition of Builth, and here 
the army remained from 30th July to 22nd September, while 
the old timber defences of " Matilda's Castle " were " elegantly 
rebuilt in stone and mortar ". How Llywelyn was meanwhile 
employed there is little to show, but one skirmish is recorded, 

m .(4m«. Dunst,; Letters, i. 400-1. The assembly was no doubt held, as 
arranged, at Oxford on 13th July. Anselm of St. David's and Elias of Llandaff, 
being Englishmen, were summoned, but not, it will be observed, Martin of Ban- 
gor and Abraham of St. Asaph. The archbishop was at the time in Italy. 

112 Close Rolls, i. 592 (castrum de Novo Burgo). 

113 Ibid. 523 ; Pat. Rolls, ii. 440. 

ii* The king was at Gloucester on the 19th and at Hereford on the 22nd. 
For the summons to the host see Close Rolls, i. 592 (end of June), and for 
Henry's apologies for delay, ibid. 594-5. 

115 See p. 586. The "castrum Matildis" of the rolls ("castellum Matildis" 
in Wendover, "castellum Maud " in Ann. Theokesb.) is " (k)astell paen " in B.T. 
and " castellum payn " in Ann. Cest. Ann. C. MS. B., in ignorance of the iden- 
tity, duplicates the entry, having first " castellum paen " and then " castrum 
matildis ". 



CHAP, fought probably on the Wye near Hay,"*' in which, with the 

■ help of a trick played upon the English by a monk of Cwm 

Hir, he scored a signal success. Henry avenged his defeat 

upon the abbey by burning one of its granges and forcing the 

abbot to pay a fine of 300 marks. 

When, with the approach of winter, the king withdrew 
from Painscastle, he had done little to humble the pride of 
Llywelyn. His brand-new fortress was imposing, but it did 
not prevent the Welsh prince from harrying the lands of the 
priory of Leominster, until the prior was ready to pay hand- 
somely for freedom from disturbance."'' Henry had nothing 
better in view than a renewal of the struggle in the following 
summer, with the prospect of help from Ireland in an attack 
upon Anglesey,"^ when he learnt that Llywelyn was prepared 
to agree to a suspension of hostilities.^^^ The power of Hubert 
de Burgh was now being shaken to its base ; his old enemy. 
Bishop Peter of Winchester, had returned from crusade and 
was seeking to supplant him ; it was to his interest to rid him- 
self of the Welsh entanglement, while Llywelyn desired nothing 
better than to be allowed to keep what he had won. Accord- 
ingly, on 30th November, 1231, a truce was concluded for a 
year, on the basis of the actual situation and with the hope 
that the year's respite might be employed in negotiating more 
permanent terms of peace.^^*^ 

Negotiations went on throughout the year 1232, but, though 
the border remained fairly peaceful, little progress was made 

116 Wendover, whose account is circumstantial, says " non longe a castello 
Montis Gomerii " (iv. 222), but the Tewkesbury annalist, who knew the district 
better, has " non longe ab Haya," and Walter of Godarville, who was sent to 
Abergavenny on 12th May (Pat. Rolls, ii. 434), is more likely to have been 
moved to Hay than to Montgomery. The abbey had made its peace before 22nd 
August, when special protection was accorded to its granges of Cabalva and 
Carnaff (= Tirymyneich, near Clyro; see Radnor sh. (2), pp. 250, 334), not far 
from Hay. 

^^"^ Atm. Theokesb. p. 80. In Mon. Angl. iv. 56 is a letter, probably be- 
longing to this period, in which Llywelyn warns his bailiffs of Maelienydd not to 
interfere with the priory. 

1^^ Letters, i. 402-3 (= Close Rolls, i. 600). An organised attack by sea 
would have placed Llywelyn in great straits, but there is no indication that this 
policy was ever taken up in good earnest by the crown. 

11* A safe-conduct was issued to the Welsh envoys on 24th November (Pat. 
Rolls, ii. 452) and they appear to have come to London. 

120 Rymer, i. 201 = Pat. Rolls, ii. 453. 


with them.^^^ England was, in this year, in the throes of an CHAP, 
internal conflict, as the result of which the great edifice of the 
justiciar's power came toppling down, and Bishop Peter rose to 
the chief position in the realm. The bishop's nephew (or son), 
Peter of Rivaux, received large grants in consequence of the 
change, and, in particular, succeeded to nearly all Hubert's 
possessions in Wales.^^^ The new government, jealously 
watched by the great lords and in its foreign complexion dis- 
agreeably recalling the despotic days of John, was not formid- 
able to Llywelyn, who kept up cordial but distant relations 
with it. At the end of the year, he lost his firm friend and 
ally. Earl Ranulf of Chester,^^^ who had championed his 
cause at Painscastle in the king's councils, and, effecting nothing, 
had withdrawn from the siege in high dudgeon.^^* But the 
earl, though he left no peer in the king's dominions in territorial 
dignity and in weight of influence, was succeeded at Chester 
by Llywelyn's son-in-law, John the Scot,^^^ so that there was 
no break in the friendly relations between Gwynedd and the 
great border earldom. In this year another son-in-law of 
Llywelyn disappears from the scene ; John de Breos was 
killed at Bramber by a fall from his horse, and, as his son and 
heir, William, was under age, Gower and Swansea came into 
the king's hands, to be added for the time being to the piled 
up wealth of the insatiable Peter of Rivaux.^^® 

121 Philip and " Instructus, " received a safe-conduct to visit the king in 
February, 1232 (Pat, Rolls, ii. 460) and Philip was at Westminster on 12th March 
{^hid. 466). Correspondence had meanwhile passed as to breaches of the truce 
(Close Rolls, ii. 127, 132, 139). The king was at Shrewsbury on 27th May, on 
7th August, and on 4th December, but apparently did not meet Llywelyn, who 
was represented by his wife, his son David, and Ednyfed Fychan (Pat. Rolls, ii. 
476 ; Cal. Pat. R, i. 4). 

122 On 19th September, 1232, the tenants of Cardiff, Newport, Glamorgan, 
Cardigan, and Carmarthen were notified that they were to obey Peter as " custos " 
(Pat. Rolls, ii. 500-1), and on the 28th a similar notice was sent to the constable 
of the " three castles " in Upper Gwent {j,hid. 502 — Blancchastel = Llantilio). 

123 The earl died at Wallingford on 26th October (Ann. Cest., Theokesb.), 
adate confirmed by Close Rolls, ii. 122 (De manerio de Lech), 123 (Pro Clementia). 

^"^•^ Ann. Theokesb. (p. 79) and Ann. Cest. (pp. 56-8) mention the quarrel, 
but not its cause; according to Ann. Dunst. (p. 127), the earl " nimis fovit 
partes Lewelini ". 

126 Ace. to Ann. Cest., he received the earldom at Northampton on 21st 

126 B.T. 320 ; Pat. Rolls, ii. 490 (Lambeth, i6th July), 491 ; Close Rolls, 
i. 86. John's widow, Margaret, was promised on 7th June, 1233, that her hand 

VOL, II. 21 


CHAP. Its rapacity and tyranny were fast making the new govern- 

ment impossible, and in the summer of 1 233 a crisis came which, 
by rekindling the fires of civil strife, relieved Llywelyn from 
all present anxiety as to the doings of the English crown. 
William Marshall had been succeeded as Earl of Pembroke ^^" 
by his brother Richard, a gallant and high-minded knight, re- 
calling in many respects his distinguished father, who had 
hitherto lived in France and taken no part in English politics. 
It was not long ere Richard and the foreign clique in power 
were openly at odds, and in August, Henry, abandoning a 
scheme for an expedition to Ireland, established himself in the 
west country with the intention of bringing the recalcitrant 
earl to subjection.^^^ After measures against the earl's ally, 
Walter Clifford,^^^ the king laid siege on 6th September to the 
castle of Usk. His failure to take it put him for a time into 
a wiser frame of mind ; he offered, if Richard would consult 
the royal dignity by a pro forma surrender of the place, to 
remit all his hostility against him and summon a council of 
reform.^^" On this basis there was a brief pacification, seeming 
for the moment to promise a general peace, but being in fact 
but an interlude in the struggle, which broke out with renewed 
violence in the middle of October. 

Llywelyn was meanwhile watching the conflict as an in- 
terested spectator. Except for a transient quarrel in March, 
when he had attacked the Breos lands and the earls of Corn- 
should not be disposed of against her will (Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 18), a concession 
obtained, it is clear, by the envoys of her father (see the previous entry in the 

^27 On 22nd June, 1231, Henry promised Richard his brother's possessions 
(Close Rolls, i. 590-1) and on 8th August it was announced that he had received 
them {^hid. 541). Grave doubt is thus thrown upon Wendover's story (iv. 225) 
as to Richard's extorting recognition by force from an unfriendly sovereign. 

I'^^For the Irish scheme see Close Rolls, ii. 315-9. Its abandonment was 
announced on 28th August (iiti. 322). Henry was at Hereford from the 19th 
of this month until the 29th, at Hay from the 31st until 3rd September, at Ewyas 
on the 3rd, at Abergavenny on the 5th, and again on the 7th and 8th, at Usk on 
the 6th and 7th, and again at Hereford on the loth. 

i29\Yalter's lands were seized before 23rd August (Close Rolls, ii. 251), and 
before the end of the month the king was in possession of his castles of Bronllys 
(Brenles) and Glasbury (Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 25). At the same time, his knight, 
Hugh of Kinnersley, lost Aberllyfni (Close Rolls, ii. 257). He made his peace on 
17th September at Shrewsbury {j,hid. 267 — cf. Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 25 (i6th Sept.)) 
and was with the king in the war at the end of the year. 

130 Wendover (iv. 275) ; Ann. Theokesb. ; Close Rolls, ii. 259, 323. 


wall and Pembroke had restored for their protection the broken chap. 
defences of Radnor/^^ he had maintained during 1233 the at- ^^^^^• 
titude of willingness to negotiate which he had taken up in the 
previous year.^^^ As late as 14th October the grant of the 
manor of Purleigh in Essex to David testified to the good re- 
lations between him and the English court.^^^ But when Earl 
Richard, impatient at the delay in the restoration of Usk, forc- 
ibly retook the castle from the royal garrison/^* and his friends 
in Glamorgan carried Cardiff Castle by assault/^^ Llywelyn 
ranged himself on the side of the baronial opposition and a 
war broke out along the march in which the Welsh acted with 
the Marshall interest and the knights of Glamorgan against 
the forces of the crown, backed by the Shropshire and the 
Herefordshire marchers.^^^ The struggle at first raged chiefly 
in the valleys of the Usk and the Wye, where the earl obtained 
possession of Abergavenny, Newport, and Monmouth, in addi- 
tion to his own castles of Usk, Caerleon, and Chepstow,^^" forced 
the king to retire from Grosmont after raiding his camp at 
dawn on nth November ^^^ and defeated John of Monmouth 
in a pitched battle fought near that town on 26th December. 
Llywelyn was meanwhile employed in the siege of Brecon, 
with the result that, after a month's battering of the walls with 
warlike engines, he reduced the town to ashes, but failed in 
taking the castle.^^^ In January, 1234, Richard and he devast- 
ated the border far and wide, making their power felt as far as 

181 Ann. C. MS. B. ; B.T. ; Ann. Theokesb. 

1^2 Rymer, i. 210 (Close Rolls, ii. 322, 323-4) ; Letters, i. 423 {ibid. 324-5). 

133 Close Rolls, ii. 280. Cf. 327 (order to sheriff of Salop on 15th Oct.). 
Purleigh was transferred to another grantee on 25th December (ibid. 356). 

134 Richard had not declared himself on 14th October — see Close Rolls, ii. 
280 — but on the 28th preparations were in full swing for a campaign against him 
and the Welsh (ibid. 542-3). Usk was held for the king by Henry de Turbeville 
(ibid. 353-4)- 

138 Ann. Theokesb. dates this event 15th October and says that Warin Basset 
fell in the assault. Earl Richard was at Cardiff on the 21st. 

136 With the Marshalls were Gilbert Turbeville, Raymond Sully, Gilbert 
Umfraville, John le Sor, John of St. Quintin, and Roger Berkrolles. The king's 
adherents included John of Monmouth, John fitz Alan, Walter Clifford, Walter 
Lacy, and Thomas Corbet. 

137 Hubert de Burgh was carried off to Chepstow, by way of Aust ferry, on 
his release from captivity at the end of October (Wykes). 

i3» Wendover, iv. 278-9. Henry was at Grosmont on nth, 12th, and 13th 
November (Close Rolls, ii. 338 ; Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 32). 

139 B.T, 

21 * 


CHAP. Shrewsbury.^*" The princes of South Wales, Rhys Gryg, Owain 
^ ' ap Gruffydd, and Maelgwn Fychan, threw all their strength 
into an attack upon the town and castle of Carmarthen,^ *^ which 
they cut off from all succour on the seaward side by building 
a bridge across the Towy. It was not a successful enterprise ; 
in March the experienced warrior, Henry of Turbeville, was 
sent with a fleet from Bristol to raise the siege ; ^^^ the bridge 
was broken and the Welsh army scattered with much slaughter. 
Among men of less note, the veteran Rhys Gryg was mortally 
wounded and died not long afterwards at Llandeilo Fawr.^*' 
Early in February Earl Richard left Wales for Ireland, 
where the conflict was also being carried on. It was, however, 
reaching its natural close, as the king realised the impotence 
of the foreign party and gradually yielded to the pressure 
brought to bear upon him by the bishops in the interests of 
reform. Foremost among the peacemakers was the primate 
elect, Edmund Rich, who sent the bishops of Lichfield and 
Rochester to the border to see what they could do with 
Llywelyn. The prince of Gwynedd had no strong reason for 
continuing the struggle, and accordingly he agreed to a truce 
on 6th March at Brockton, near Bishop's Castle,^** and sent 
envoys to the king, who confirmed the arrangement for a res- 
pite of fighting on the 28th.^*^ In this way the ground was 
cleared for the much desired revolution at court ; on 9th 
April the newly consecrated archbishop won a complete 
victory over Peter of Winchester and his train, and matters 

1*0 Wendover, iv. 291. B.T. and Ann. C. MS. B. mention the burning 
of Clun, Oswestry, and the Teme valley, and the capture of an unknown " castell 
hithoet ". The last-named appears as " Castell Coch " {i.e. Powis Castle) in 
B.T., but this castle was in Llywelyn's own territory of Powys Wenwynwyn. 

1" Ann. C. MS. C. ; B.T. ; Ann. Theokesb. 

i'»2 Henry was appointed constable of Carmarthen on 17th March, 1234 (Cal. 
Pat. Rolls, i. 41), and ten days later the men of Bristol were ordered to supply 
him with corn, beans, pease, bacon, salt, and wine for the provisioning of the 
castle (Close Rolls, ii. 394). 

i« ^M». Theokesb. ; B.T. ; Ann. C. MS. B. Rhys was buried in St. David's 
Cathedral and his elegy was sung by Dewi Mynyw (My v. Arch. I. 543 (357)), or, 
it may be, Y Prydydd Bychan (ibid. 384 (262)). 

^^* Or, perhaps, near Worthen, where there is also a place of this name. 

^*' The truce of Brockton is referred to in Letters, i. 433 (Cal. Pat. Rolls, i, 
43). A safe-conduct was issued to Llywelyn's envoys on nth March (ibid. 41), 
and on the 28th the king informed his captains at Monmouth that he had agreed 
to a truce, though for a shorter period than that proposed by the two bishops 
(Close Rolls, ii. 555). 


were ripe for the restoration of the Earl Marshall to his due CHAP. 


position of honour and authority in the realm. On the 15th, 
however, the earl died in Ireland/^^ as the result of hostile 
measures long before set on foot by his enemies, and it was 
now but a question of reconciling his brothers and his adherents 
to the king and of securing a permanent peace with Llywelyn. 
In June there was a general pacification ; Gilbert Marshall 
became Earl of Pembroke, the insurgents in England and 
South Wales were received again into favour, and Peter of 
Rivaux was stripped of all his Welsh possessions. Upon 
learning that his allies had received satisfactory terms, 
Llywelyn also accepted conditions of peace ; ^^'^ on 21st June 
the archbishop and the two bishops who had negotiated the 
armistice of Brockton met him at Middle, half-way between 
Ellesmere and Shrewsbury, and concluded a truce for two 
years, which was ratified by the king on 7th July.^*^ The 
basis of the agreement was adherence to the state of things 
which obtained at the outbreak of the war ; no new castle was 
to be built, no ruined one restored, on either side, but all con- 
quests of earlier date than the outbreak of the quarrel with 
Earl Richard were to be retained, so that Llywelyn kept his 
hold upon Cardigan and Builth. In form the settlement was 
merely temporary and determined no questions of right, but, 
on the expiration of the prescribed two years, the truce was 
renewed from year to year until Llywelyn's death,^*® so that 
in substance the Pact of Middle was a treaty of peace, the 
crowning achievement of the prince's long and victorious 
career. He fought no more battles with the English ; he had 
won for himself and for his people a secure and well-guarded 
independence, and henceforth his chief concern was to make 

^**^ Ann. Theokesb.; Mon. Angl. v. 266. 

1'*^ Immediately after the council of gth April, Henry had confirmed the 
truce of Brockton, securing peace until 25th July, and it was arranged that the 
archbishop should see Llywelyn on 2nd May as to a permanent agreement. See 
Letters, i. 433-5. But, on hearing of the death of Earl Richard, Llywelyn ap- 
parently declined to proceed until there had been complete reparation to the 
earl's injured followers. Hence the letter of the king dispatched early in June 
and printed in Rymer, i. 212 (Close Rolls, ii. 564-5). 

"8 Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 59. Cf. Rymer, i. 213 (Close Rolls, ii. 568-9). 

1^^ It was prolonged on nth July, 1236 (Rymer, i. 229 ; Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 
153), on 14th June, 1237 (Rymer, i. 232; C.P.R. i. 186), and on 8th July, 1238 
(Rymer, i. 236 ; C.P.R. i. 225). The Patent Roll for 1238-9 is not extant. 


CHAP sure that the edifice of national power and prosperity he had 
' erected would survive his removal from the scene. 

III. Wales under the Rule of Llywelyn. 

While the Welsh leader was thus fighting and parleying and 
bargaining with the king and the barons of the march, the 
realms of Gwynedd and Powys lay in profoundest peace. 
Hardly a ripple disturbed the face of the waters, and the 
domestic history of the period is almost a blank. The question 
of the succession, no doubt, gave Llywelyn some anxiety from 
time to time, but, apart from this, there was no internal prob- 
lem to harass him. The age was one in which, under the 
powerful protection of the lord of Gwynedd, Welsh society 
followed the lines of its natural development, and Welsh litera- 
ture, law and religion quietly prospered. 

Wide as was the scope of his authority, stretching from 
Cardigan to Mold and from Builth to Anglesey, Llywelyn 
never claimed the title of prince of Wales. He used the 
official designation of " princeps Norwalliae," i.e., prince of 
Gwynedd, until the spring of 1230, when he began to style 
himself " prince of Aberffraw and lord of Snowdon," a title ere 
long recognised by the English governments^" It can hardly 
be supposed that the longer and more sonorous style was 
adopted for mere reasons of euphony ; a serious purpose lay 
behind it. Llywelyn wished to emphasise his primacy in 
Wales as the holder of that " principal seat " to which tradition 
assigned the pre-eminence ; the prince of Aberffraw held him- 
self to be the natural lord of the prince of Dinefwr, and thus 
found a justification in traditional lore for the actual suprem- 
acy which he exercised.^^^ " Lord of Snowdon " was perhaps 
added for greater effect, the humble Aberffraw conveying to 
English ears no such suggestion of ancient greatness as to the 
Welshman steeped in the history of bygone days. 

150 The earliest occurrence of the title which I have been able to trace is on 
ist May, 1230 — see Evans, Rep. ii. p. 859 (copy by leuan Brydydd Hir of Rhos 
Fyneich charter). In English documents it first appears on 27th May, 1231 
(Rymer, i. 200; Pat. Rolls, ii. 436). 

151 The supremacy of Aberffraw is involved in the statement of Ven. \. ii. 3 
that " gold is not paid (as sarhad) to any other than the king of Aberffraw," and 
is explicitly asserted in Lat. C. L v. i (ii. 894-5). Both authorities, it should be 
added, are Venedotian and not older than the thirteenth century. 


But, though Llywelyn did not formally style himself CHAP, 
prince of Wales, he had much of the power which such a 
title might imply. 

The South — dost thou not rule it as rightful lord ? 

triumphantly sings his bard, Llywarch ap Llywelyn,^^^ and he 
let no opportunity escape him of winning authority even in . 
distant Gwent and Glamorgan.^^^ It may be said, however, 
that his prestige in the South, though always great, was a 
variable quantity, depending on the fortune of war ; in the 
North it was at all times unquestioned and involved the com- 
plete subjection of the other ruling princes. Among these 
were Maredudd ap Rhotpert of Cydewain,^^* Llywelyn ab 
Owain and Owain Fychan of Mechain,^^^ the stock of Owain 
Brogyntyn in Edeyrnion,^^*^ and Llywelyn ap Maredudd in 
Meirionydd.^^'^ Chief of Llywelyn's Northern vassals was 
Madog ap Gruffydd, whose lands stretched from the Tanat to 
the outskirts of Chester, the founder of Valle Crucis, the lord 
of Overton Castle, towering on its cliff above the beautiful, 
sinuous course of the Dee.^*^ From the Peace of Worcester 
until his death in 1236, when he was laid to rest in the abbey 
he had endowed,^^^ Madog was unswervingly faithful to his 
great chief,^*''* and his fidelity, with the friendship of the Earls 
of Chester, put Llywelyn at his ease as to the security of his 

152 Myv. Arch. I. 304 (215) (" Y deheu neud teu ual teithyawc "). 

153 See Letters, i. 452-5 (Close Rolls, ii. 590-1,595) for an attempt in August, 
1234, to obtain suzerainty over Morgan Gam, Rhys ap Gruffydd, Hywel ap 
Maredudd, and Morgan of Caerleon. 

1^* See chap. xvii. note 182. 

15' Sons of the Owain Fychan who was slain in 1187 (p. 565). Lljrwelyn 
obtained protection from John on 30th August, 1204 (^ot. Pat. 45). He was 
dead in 1241, but his son Llywelyn and his brother Owain appear in that year 
in Rot. Fin. i. 342. Owain, known like his father as Owain Fychan, appears as 
a magnate in May, 1218 (Rymer, i. 151 ; Rot. Clans, i. 362). 

156 Represented in 1245 by Gruffydd ab Owain, Owain ap Bleddyn ab Owain 
(for Bleddyn see Rymer, i. 151), and Elise ab lorwerth ab Owain (Rymer, i. 

i"i3.T. s.a. 1215. 

158 Madog appears as lord of Maelor Saesneg in 1212 {Arch. Camb. HL xii. 
(1866), 414) and in 1229 (Close Rolls, i. 250), and, no doubt, Overton Madog took 
its name from him, since there is no evidence that it was ever held by Madog ap 

159 ^MM. C. MS. B. andB.T. 

180 Madog appears in association with Llywelyn in 1218 {Rot. Claus. i. 379), 
1223 (Pat. Rolls, i. 411), 1229 (Close Rolls, i. 250), and 1232 {ibid. ii. 139). 


CHAP, eastern border as far south as the rock of Carreghofa. After 

Madog's death, his domains were divided among his sons, 

Gruffydd Maelor, Gruffydd lal, Hywel, Maredudd, and Madog, 
and the too familiar tale of fraternal jealousy and strife was 
once more repeated. In 1238 Maredudd brought about the 
death of Gruffydd lal, whereupon Llywelyn intervened as 
overlord and deprived the fratricide of his lands.^®^ 

Not only vassals, but also able ministers, both clerical and 
lay, seconded the efforts of the prince of Gwynedd. Chief 
among them was Ednyfed Fychan, who succeeded Gwyn ab 
Edny wain ^^^ about 1 2 1 5 as " distain " or seneschal, and hence- 
forward takes the first place among the counsellors and 
envoys of Llywelyn. Tradition would have us believe that 
he first won fame as a warrior, fighting against Earl Ranulf of 
Chester and cutting off the heads of three Englishmen, which 
were thereafter figured upon his escutcheon.^^^ But his true 
glory is the place he filled and the services he rendered until 
his death in 1 246 ^"^ as the prudent adviser and skilful agent 
of two successive lords of Aberffraw. He first appears in 
connection with the Peace of Worcester in 1218,^®^ and next 
as a witness to the compact between Llywelyn and the Earl 
of Chester on the occasion of the marriage of John the Scot in 
1222.^^^ From 1229 onwards he is constantly engaged in the 
business of the prince,^®'' and it cannot be doubted that the 
part he played in shaping the policy of Gwynedd was sub- 
stantial. Of his private history little is certainly known ; ^'^^ 
the death of his wife Gwenllian, a daughter of the Lord Rhys, 
is recorded in 1236,^®^ and he would seem in the previous 

"1 Ann. C. MS. B. and B.T. 102 See note 54 to chap. xvii. 

163 The story comes from the report of the commission as to Henry VII. 's 
ancestry (Wynne, 331-2). It may be a genuine reminiscence of the campaign of 
1 210 — sne p. 632. 

!»*" Item obiit Ideneueth Justiciarius Walliae " (Ann. Cest. s.a.) 

1^* Rot. Claus. i. 379 (Etuenech Bachan). 

166 Owen, Catalogue, i. p. 357. In 1223 he was nominated as one of the six 
representatives of Llywelyn upon the commission of inquiry as to South Wales 
lands (Pat. Rolls, i. 413, 481). 

167 Pat. Rolls, ii. 271 (Edeneuet senescallus Lewelini), 453, 471, 475, 476 
Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 3, 4, 17, 225, 237 ; Close Rolls, ii. 139. 

168 The usual meaning of the epithet "Fychan" (Little) at this time, viz., 
Junior, would make him a son of Ednyfed, but the pedigrees do not show this. 

i6M«». C. MS. B. 


year to have made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.^^" He CHAP, 
had estates at Rhos Fyneich ^^^ (near Colwyn Bay), at Llan- 
sadwrn and Llanrhystyd in South Wales/"'-^ and, no doubt, 
also in Anglesey, where his descendants were mighty folk for 
many generations. Not the least of his claims to respectful 
notice from the historian is that from him sprang, by direct 
male descent, the puissant House of Tudor, so that his stock 
might have used, with even greater propriety than the 
Mortimers, the boastful motto — •'■'■ Not we from kings, but 
kings from us ". 

The greatness of Ednyfed cast a shade over the lesser 
agents of Llywelyn's purposes, men such as Einion Fychan,^'^^ 
David, archdeacon of St. Asaph,^^* and the clerical envoys, 
Ystrwyth,i^5 Adam,^^''' David i" and Philip ab Ifor.^^« But the 
prince had one emissary whose diplomatic services far outran 
those of the seneschal and who helped him in this capacity 
for the greater part of his reign. To the assistance of his wife 
Joan, both as advocate and counsellor, there can be no doubt 
he was much indebted. Reference has already been made to 
the part which she played as mediator between Wales and 
England up to 1230 ; the tragedy of that year brought about 
a sudden suspension of her diplomatic activity, but it was not 
long ere it was resumed. In the following year she was for- 
given and released from prison,^"^ and in 1232 she appears 
once more in the accustomed r6le of representative of her 

I''" Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 108. The journey talked of in December, 1232 {fbid. 6), 
was clearly not carried out at the time. 

I'^i A charter copied by leuan Brydydd Hir from the original contains Lly- 
welyn's confirmation at " Estrad" (near Denbigh), on ist May, 1230, of the 
purchase by " Idneved Vachan Senescallus noster " of " Ros Veneych " from the 
heirs of Dineirth of the tribe of Marchudd (ap Cynan). See Evans, Rep. ii. p. 
859 (Panton MSS.). 

i"Pat. Rolls, ii. 271. 

1" Pat. Rolls, ii. 471, 476 ; Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 3 ; Rymer, i. 236. 

'^"'^ Pat. Rolls, ii. 436 ; Rymer, i. 235, 236. 

1''^ See chap. xvi. note 53. The "Instructus" of Pat. Rolls, ii. 452, 460, 
and Close Rolls, ii, 132, was perhaps a younger man. 

176 Pat. Rolls, ii. 436 ; Owen, Catalogue, p. 357 ; Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 3. 

^'^'' Rot. Claus. ii. 43 ; Rymer, i. 178, 208; Pat. Rolls, ii. 436. 

"8 Pat. Rolls, ii. 452, 460, 466; Close Rolls, ii. 132; Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 225 ; 
Rymer, i. 236. 

"9 " Lewelinus princeps Wallye recepit uxorem suam . . . quam antea in- 
carceravit" (Aitn. Cest. s.a. 1231). 


CHAP, husband.^^*' She died at Aber, the royal seat of the commote 


of Arllechwedd Uchaf, now becoming a favourite residence of 
the princes of Gwynedd,^^^ on 2nd February, 1237, ^^^ and the 
best proof of her complete restoration to the old footing of 
trust and affection is to be found in the honour paid by Lly- 
welyn to her memory. Her body was borne across the sands 
of Lafan and ferried to the Anglesey shore, where, not far from 
the prince's manor of Llanfaes, a new burying-ground had 
been consecrated by Bishop Hugh of St. Asaph. Here she 
was laid to rest, while for monument Llywelyn built on the 
spot a house for Franciscan friars, so that the most saintly of 
the religious, as they were then accounted, might pray for her 
soul.^^^ Her coffin of stone, with its graceful carving and 
comely presentment of the diademed head in bas-relief, was 
torn from its place at the dissolution, but has recently found 
fitting shelter and protection in Baron Hill Park.^^* 

Joan had one son, David, the indubitable heir to Llywelyn's 
great position, as heirship was reckoned in feudal and Christian 
Europe. But the position was complicated by the fact that 
the prince had an older son, Gruffydd, born to him before his 
marriage, and that under Welsh law this youth might fairly 
claim, though not born in wedlock, to share his father's 
dominions with his younger brother.^^^ Gruffydd was the son 
of a Welsh mother, Tangwystl, daughter of Llywarch the Red 
of Rhos,^^** and both this circumstance and his fiery and enter- 
prising spirit — for he was an Ishmael by disposition no less 
than in respect of his birth — made him a popular hero and 
counterbalanced the disadvantage he suffered in the public 

"» Pat. Rolls, ii. 476. 

^8^ Other royal residences of this period were Carnarvon, Rhosyr, Cemais, 
and Llanfaes — see Mon. Angl. iv. 582. 

182 <i Jn Purificationis " [Ann. Cest.) ; " vis whefrawr yn llys Aber " {B.T.). 

^^ B.T. Llanfaes was the royal manor of Tindaethwy, with a port and ferry 
— see Trib. System, App. 3-4. Its church (St. Catherine's) was in 1254 the most 
valuable in the deanery (Arch. Camb. V. xi. (1894), 32) and was quite distinct from 
the friary. Bangor was vacant ; hence the appearance of the bishop of St. Asaph. 

^^*Arch. Camb. I. ii. (1847), 316; IV. vi. (1875), 142-3 (Bloxam). 

185 The first mention of Gruffydd is as a hostage in the hands of King John 
from I2II to 1215 — see chap. xvii. notes 121 and 172. That he was illegitimate 
is clear from the language of the papal letter of 26th May, 1222 (Papal Letters, 
i. p. 87), language, it is to be noted, which was dictated by Llywelyn himself. 

186 Dwnn, ii. 107. 


recosfiiition of David as sole heir. Thus a conflict arose which CHAP. 

outlasted the life of Llywelyn, and which, while he lived, was a 

constant source of trouble to him. He never wavered in his 
determination that David should succeed to the whole of his 
territories ; apart from his attachment to Joan and the re- 
collection that his own accession to full power was a triumph 
for legitimacy, there was the certainty that only David, strong 
in his relationship to the English king and in the possession of 
an unassailable title, could hold together what had become a 
virtual principality of Wales. In 1220 he secured the recogni- 
tion of David by the English Government,^^^ in 1222 by the 
pope,^*^^ and in 1226 by the magnates of Wales ; ^^^ in 1229 
followed the homage of the heir to Henry HI., and in 1230 
his marriage to Isabella de Breos.^^** Meanwhile, Llywelyn's 
treatment of Gruffydd had varied ; he had sometimes indulged 
him, and then again, moved by his reckless violence, had 
turned upon him and punished him. He had at first given 
him Meirionydd and Ardudwy, but the ravages committed by 
Gruffydd upon his own territories led him in 1221 to recall his 
gift.-^^^ In 1223 Gruffydd was so far in favour again as to be 
in command of forces which acted for Llywelyn in Ystrad 
Tywi,^^^ but in 1228 his father imprisoned him in Degannwy 
as the only method of ensuring his good behaviour, and he, 
remained a prisoner for the next six years.^^^ With Gruffydd 
under lock and key, David's path was clear of difficulties, and 
the rivalry between the two brothers was suspended until it 
burst forth again at the close of the reign. 

Turning from the circle of Llywelyn's personal relations to 
the land over which he bore sway, one observes that, after the 
great struggle at St. David's, the Welsh Church enjoyed quiet 
during the rest of his period of rule. The successful movement 
against the tyranny of John enabled him in 121 5 to carry, 
without serious opposition, in the case of the two most im- 
portant Welsh sees, the point for which he had contended 
earlier in the reign, namely, the election of Welsh bishops. 

187 See p. 656. 188 Papal Letters, i. p. 87. 

^^^Ibid. p. 109. 19" See pp. 670, 671. 

191 B.T. It was, no doubt, after this that Llywelyn ap Maredudd (see note 
157) obtained his patrimony of Meirionydd. 

192 Ibid. 

i9» Ann. Cest. s.a. 1228 and 1234, confirmed by B.T. s.a. 1234. 


CHAP. Geoffrey of St. David's died in 1 2 1 4,^^* and thereupon negotia- 
tions were set on foot by the court for the appointment of a 
successor acceptable to the king.^^^ But John found it im- 
possible to achieve his purpose, and he was forced, a few days 
after accepting the Great Charter, to agree to the elevation of 
lorwerth, abbot of Talley, unanimously chosen by the chapter, 
no doubt with the concurrence of Llywelyn.^^^ Giraldus, whose 
claims were on this occasion with one consent ignored, avenges 
himself by suggesting that lorwerth's election was not quite 
free from the taint of simony, but he admits that the new 
bishop was a good, simple man,^^*" and he would seem to have 
filled his office well, mediating between Welsh and English in 
time of strife,^^^ reforming the services of his cathedral,^®^ and, 
probably, continuing the building work of Bishop Peter.-'^'^ 
With lorwerth, Archbishop Langton consecrated to the vacant 
see of Bangor Cadwgan, abbot of Whitland, who was the son 
of a priest famed for his Welsh preaching and was himself in 
high favour with Llywelyn.^"^ It was a choice which was 
undoubtedly due to the predominance of the prince of Gwynedd 
at this time, though Giraldus, in the disappointment of his 
declining years, sneers at it and paints the new bishop in the 
most unpleasing colours, as an unfilial son and a wicked 
schemer. But what history has to tell of him is to his credit ; 

19*B.T. The appointment of the Earl Marshall as custos was signified on 
nth January, 1215 {Rot. Pat. i. 126; Rot. Clans, i. 182). 

^^^Rot. Claus. i. igi, 203. John's candidate was Hugh Foliot, Archdeacon 
of Salop. 

1*8 Rot. Pat. 143 (Windsor, i8th June). lorwerth was consecrated at Staines 
on 2ist June (Reg. Sacr. (2), 54). 

1"'' Men. Eccl. vii. (Works, iii. 361-4). 

i»8 See p. 653. 1*^ Jones and Freem. 321. 

200 The new tower collapsed in 1220 (Ann. C. MS. C), and important 
building was done between this date and 1248 (Jones and Freem. 147). 

2"! Bishop Robert had died in 1212 (chap. xvii. note 119). On 13th March, 
1215, John granted the request of the chapter for freedom of election, but asked 
them (was it to save his face ?) to elect the abbot of Alba Landa (Rot. Pat. 130). 
By 13th April this had been done and the royal assent was given on that day 
(ibid. 132 — read C for O). For his consecration see Ann. Wigorn., H. and St. 
i. 455, Reg. Sacr. (2), 54. B.T. calls him " Kadwgawn llan dyffei " (Brnts, 353), 
i.e., of Llandyfeisant (near Llandeilo) or Lamphey. The " Martinus " of ^«m. 
Wigorn. and ^nn. Theokesb. (which are clearly not independent in this notice) is 
probably a slip ; the latter has the right name s.a. 1241. The unnamed bishop 
who is pilloried by Gir. Camb. in Spec. iii. 7 (Works, iv. 161-7) is beyond doubt 
Cadwgan, and the abuse, exaggerated as it no doubt is, would be pointless if 
Llywelyn had not favoured his election. 


avarice cannot be laid to the charge of a prelate who in 1234 CHAP. 

bought a shipload of corn in Ireland to feed the poor of his 

diocese,^"^ nor yet love of power to the account of a man who 

in 1236 resigned his episcopal dignity and found shelter for his 

aged bones as a humble monk in the Cistercian house of Dore.^"^ 

Under the gentle sway of lorwerth and Cadwgan and of the 

undistinguished bishops of St. Asaph,^''* the ecclesiastical air 

was untroubled, even if there hung about it a suggestion of 

drowsy content which one might have looked for in vain if the 

ambitions of the fiery reformer of Manorbier had been realised. 

It was in the monastic sphere that enterprise and energy 

came to light in the Welsh Church of this period, and here 

Llywelyn showed himself the enlightened friend of reform, 

with no narrow suspicion of new religious movements. His 

sympathies in this respect were as broad as those of Rhys ap 

Grufifydd. He befriended the canons of Priestholm or Ynys 

Lannog, who were members of no recognised monastic order, 

but a company of anchorites of the old Welsh pattern,^''^ and 

secured them in the possession of the church and manor of 

Penmon.^"*' But he was no less favourable to the Cistercian 

202 Close Rolls, ii. 417. 

2"=* Gregory IX. gave his consent on ist March, 1236 {Papal Letters, i. p. 151), 
and about 6th June Master Guy, dean of Bangor, obtained the leave of the 
crown for a new election (Gal. Pat. Rolls, i. 149). The submission of " Cadu- 
canus " to the abbot of Dore will be found in B. Willis, Bangor, pp. 186-7. ^^ 
died in the abbey on nth April, 1241 {Ann. Theokesb.). 

20* Bishop Reiner (there were perhaps two of the name) died in 1224 {Ann. 
Theokesb.) and was succeeded by Abraham, probably a Welshman, who was 
consecrated on 29th June, 1225 {Reg. Sacr. (2), 56), and died in 1232 {B.T.). 
Permission to elect was granted to the chapter on 4th February, 1233 (Cal. Pat. 
Rolls, i. 10), and on nth April, 1234, t^^ l^irig assented to the election of Hugh, 
a Dominican friar {ibid. 42), who was consecrated on 17th June, 1235 {Reg. 
Sacr. (2), 58). 

^"-^ Gir. Camb. {Itin. ii. 7 (vi. 131)) describes the life of the "eremitae" of 
'* Enislannach ". They puzzled Gervase of Canterbury, who calls them " monachi 
albi per se " (ii. 444). But they were certainly not Cistercians, nor yet Bene- 
dictines (Dugdale and Tanner) ; as in the cases of Aberdaron, Enlli and Beddge- 
lert, their usual designation of " canons " was an attempt to interpret their real 
position as members of an ancient " clas ". See chap. vii. § 2. 

206 See Llywelyn's charters of 15th October, 1221, and loth April, 1237 
(wdth confirmations by David as heir in 1229 and 1238) in Mon. Angl. iv. 581-2. 
It is not clear whether the prior and canons of" Insula Glannauc" (for the name 
see chap. vii. note m) possessed the " abbadaeth," i.e., the ecclesiastical and 
territorial rights, of the "clas" of Penmon before 1237, but this seems most 
likely. There was a church on the island, of the same age as that on the main- 


CHAP, fraternity, now firmly rooted both in North and South Wales ; 

^^^^^' he issued to Cymer and to Aberconwy charters confirming to 
those houses their extensive lands in Gwynedd,^"^ and he 
maintained the most amicable relations with Strata Florida ^^^ 
and Cwm Hir. It was probably under his patronage that the 
Knights Hospitallers found a home at Dolgynwal, or Yspyty 
Ifan, on the banks of the Conway,^"^ and mention has already 
been made of the welcome he gave to the Franciscans, repre- 
senting the newest type of religious devotee, who, at the time 
of their settlement at Llanfaes, had only been some thirteen 
years in these islands. In the realm of religion, as in that of 
politics, Llywelyn was accessible to new impulses and ideas. 

There is reason to think that the prince's care for the wel- 
fare of his people exhibited itself in yet another channel, namely, 
that of law. The Venedotian Code, that edition of the laws 
of Hywel the Good which embodies the special usages of 
Gwynedd, would seem to have been compiled by one lorwerth 
ap Madog about the beginning of the thirteenth century. 2^*^ 
If this be the case, it can hardly be doubted that the moving 
influence in the matter was the Venedotian lord, whose interest 
it was that all his subjects should be under the authority of 
one body of law. His privileges are naturally asserted to the 
full: "gold," as satisfaction for an insult, "is paid only," we 
are informed, " to the king of Aberffraw," ^" but a beneficent 
purpose may also be traced in the reform, for this was one of 
the ways in which, as the annalist puts it, " he showed good 
justice to all, according to their deserts, in the love and fear of 
God." 2^^ lorwerth ap Madog was apparently a man of Arfon, 
and he records prominently the special rights of the warriors 
of that cantref, the men of the black-headed shafts, who had 
earned them, tradition alleged, in the tribal wars of far distant 

20V Chap xvi. notes 144, 148. 

"^^^ Gir. records visits paid by Llywelyn to Strata Florida about 12 14 (iv. 
162-3) ^n^i 't was at the abbey that the important assembly of 1238 took place. 

209 p, 604. ^'0 See chap. x. extra note B. 

«" See note 151. "'^ Ann. C. MS. B. s.a. 1240. 

213 LL, i, 104-6. According to Dr. Gwenogvryn Evans, " Breinieu Arfon " 
is not in the same hand as the text of MS. A. before and after {Rep. i. pref. to pt. 
ii. note on p. viii), but it so refers to lorwerth as to make it clear that he is the 
author of the section. 


The age of Llywelyn, it scarcely needs to be said, was one CHAP, 
of brilliant literary achievement in Wales. Ten bards are 
mentioned by Stephens in The Literature of the Kymry ^^* 
as having written during this period poetry which survives, and 
included in the list are the honoured names of Cynddelw the 
Great Maker (Y Prydydd Mawr) and Llywarch ap Llywelyn, 
the Poet of the Swine (Prydydd y Moch). Most of them con- 
fess, in rapturous odes to the prince of Gwynedd, the debt 
v/hich poesy owed him as the doer of noble deeds and the 
begetter of heroic strains. He is, says Cynddelw, 

The proud lord whom God made without a fault. ^^^ 

Prydydd y Moch declares — 

Well known it is that thy long hand never falters 
As it bestows the red and the yellow gold : 
God made thee braver than any man that breathes — 
Most liberal, too, as far as the sun's course extends : 
It is thy father's kindly instinct that to thee clings, 
And in thee the generous dead is reborn.^^'* 

Dafydd Benfras almost declines the impossible task of ade- 
quate eulogy — 

Had I the skill of a wizard 

In the primitive, eloquent bardic strain, 

I could not for the life of me paint his prowess in battle, 

Nor could Taliesin.^i^ 

While the simple lines of Einion ap Gwgon, his loyal kinsman 
and retainer, set forth what, it may well be believed, were in 
general the relations between the prince and his subjects — 

He to me as the crystal mind, 

I to him as the hand and the eye.^^^ 

Besides the work of known authors, there is much anonymous 
literature, both in verse and in prose, which undoubtedly came 
into being during this age of fruitful growth. To it may be 
assigned not a few of the predictive poems, in which national 
history is unfolded, as in the case of Cowper's " Boadicea " 
and Gray's " Bard," by a prophetic figure of the past who tells 
the story by way of prognostication. The " Hoianau," a cele- 
brated specimen of the type, contains a reference to the struggle 
of Llywelyn and John and the vengeance inflicted on the 
foreigner by the outraged saint of Bangor — 

214 Lit. Kym. (2), p. 118. 

215 "Niwnaeth Duw fwlch ar falchnaf" {Myv. Arch. I, 262 (i8g)). 

2i« Myv. Arch. I. 301 (213). »" Ihid. 308 (218). "is Ihid. 322 (226). 


CHAP. When Daniel, son of Dunod Deinwyn, is kindled to wrath, 

XVIII. The Frank shall return in flight— he shall not ask the road ! '^'^^ 

The Mabinogion, too, the famous romantic tales of the Welsh, 
though there is little to fix the date of their composition, can- 
not be moved far from the age of Llywelyn, in whose lifetime 
the earliest known manuscript of the Four Branches was 
penned. 22° It was the luxuriant and free flowering springtime 
of the Welsh genius, when fancy and patriotic fervour and 
wistful love of the past took a hundred different shapes — the 
ode, the stanza, the triad, the romance, the legend of saintly life, 
the mystic prophecy. And foremost figure of the race, its 
pride and its delight, was the lord of Aberffraw — 

Great chief of our fair, white land and its adornment 1 ''^ 

IV. Closing Scenes. 

Llywelyn was now growing old and a slight paralytic 
stroke added to the burden of his sixty-five years.^^^ Having 
secured peace with England on the basis of the status quo, he 
devoted his fast-ebbing energies to the task of making sure of 
the succession of David. In 1234 Gruffydd had been released 
from captivity and had received the half of Lleyn ; ^^^ his be- 
haviour giving satisfaction, this provision had been in later 
years very greatly increased, until in 1238 he is found holding, 
in addition to the whole of this westernmost cantref of Gwy- 
nedd, a substantial share of Powys, where his father apparently 
designed to establish him as successor to Gwenwynwyn.''^'^* 
But the feud between the two brothers did not admit of so 
easy a solution, and in this year it came to a violent issue. 
On 19th October an assembly of all the princes of Wales took 
place at Strata Florida Abbey, which was friendly, as ever, to 

2i» Blk. Bk. fo. 286, vv. I, 2 ; IV. Anc. Bks. ii. p. 23 ; Lit. Kym. (2), pp. 244-5, 
where the allusion is not rightly understood. The poet sees in John's later de- 
feats a punishment for the burning of Bangor in 121 1. 

^ao Of this only a few fragments survive in Pen. MS. 6 (Evans, Rep. i. p. 316). 
Dr. Evans dates them " circa 1225 ". 

221 <« Mawr benn Cymru wenn ai chymmhenrwydd " (Myv. Arch. I. 311 

2^ M. Paris, Chron. iii. 385. The evidence of the records (see note 149 above) 
shows that no important change of policy took place in or about 1237. 

^^Ann. C. MS. B. 

22^ According to B.T. 326, Arwystli, Kerry, Cyfeilipg, Mawddwy, Mochnant, 
and Caereinion were in GruflFydd's hands. 


the power of Llywelyn, and each one swore fealty to David CHAP, 
as next heir.^^^ Armed with this new authority, the young 
prince stripped his rival of all his lands in Powys, leaving him 
only Lleyn, and in the following year, whether provoked by 
some fresh act of hostility or taking advantage of a more 
secure footing in the realm, he imprisoned Gruffydd and his 
son Owain in Criccieth,^^® and thus made himself undisputed 
master of North Wales. 

It was thus, with every object of his life achieved, with a 
strong and prosperous principality ready to be handed on to 
the son of Joan, that Llywelyn died on nth April, 1240.227 
He spent his last hours in the abbey of Aberconwy, where 
he took the monastic habit and where his body was honour- 
ably entombed. Bard and chronicler sang his praises with 
unanimous voice. "Thus died," writes the Cistercian annalist, 
" that great Achilles the Second, the lord Llywelyn . . . 
whose deeds I am unworthy to recount. For with lance and 
shield did he tame his foes ; he kept peace for the men of 
religion ; to the needy he gave food and raiment. With a 
warlike chain he extended his boundaries ; he showed justice 
to all . . . and by meet bonds of fear or love bound all men 
to him." 228 In the like strain of eulogy did Einion the Weak 
mourn the loss of his prince, marvelling at the low estate of 
one who had a few short hours before been so great : — 

True lord of the land — how strange that to-day 

He rules not o'er Gwynedd ! 
Lord of nought but the piled up stones of his tomb, 
Of the seven-foot grave in which he lies.^' 

Among the chieftains who battled against the Anglo-Norman 
power his place will always be high, if not indeed the highest of 
all, for no man ever made better or more judicious use of the 
native force of the Welsh people for adequate national ends ; 
his patriotic statesmanship will always entitle him to wear the 
proud style of Llywelyn the Great. 

228 It appears from letters of 8th March, 1238, in Rymer, i. 235, that an at- 
tempt had been made to bring off this ceremony earlier in the year and that the 
English government had entered a protest against it. 

226 5.r, 227 M. Pans, Chron. iv. 8. 

"^^ Ann. C. MS. B. The following corrections must be made in the text 
of Ab Ithel ; for " dominabat " read '• domabat " ; omit " Christi " (top of p. 83) ; 
for '• tenore" read " terrore ". 

^^ Myv. Arch. I, 335 (233). 

VOL. n. ' 22 


between two tides. 

1. The Struggle of David for Independence. 

CHAP. The six short years of David's rule have the interest of an un- 
^^^" finished experiment. Llywelyn had done all that foresight 
could achieve to ensure the continuance of his own power un- 
broken in the hands of his youngest son ; time alone would 
show whether the scheme would be successful. But David's 
early death put an end to the experiment in its most crucial 
stage, and the fact that he left no heir cleared the board even 
more thoroughly than would otherwise have been the case — 
nothing remained of the edifice so laboriously built by Lly- 
welyn. Nor must it be supposed that, before the removal of 
David, the English crown had virtually won its victory ; the 
prince had, in point of fact, surmounted his early difficulties, 
and there is no reason to suppose that, had he lived, he might 
not have achieved a decisive triumph. 

His first steps were easily taken, so carefully had the way 
been prepared. He had the powerful support of Ednyfed 
Fychan, of the bishop of St. Asaph, and of Einion Fychan,^ 
and his accession to the principality of North Wales was taken 
for granted at the English court. GrufFydd was in close con- 
finement, and for the moment no one, save, perhaps. Bishop 
Richard of Bangor, was disposed to make much of his claims.^ 

1 Rymer i. 239. The chronology of B.T. continues to be correct from 1240 to 
1256, but, owing to a slip in the Rolls edition, two years are there included under 
1252 (see p. 339) and the printed dates are therefore a year behind the true reck- 
oning from 1253 to 1256 inclusive. 

2 I follow in the text the statement of Ann. C. MS. B. and B.T. that Gruff- 
ydd was imprisoned in 1239. According to M. Paris, however (Chron. iv. 8, 
47-8), the imprisonment followed the death of Llywelyn, and the matter remains 
in some doubt. Paris is probably right in his account of the attitude of the 
bishop of Bangor (ibid. 148-9), but there is no record evidence showing that the 
king concerned himself about Gruffydd before August, 1241. 




Accordingly, on 15th May, 1240, little more than a month CHAP, 
after his father's death, David attended a royal council at 
Gloucester, was knighted, did homage for Gwynedd, and wore 
the " talaith " or coronet which was the special symbol of his 
rank,^ The other magnates of Wales did homage in his com- 
pany, and his rule seemed to have begun auspiciously in peace 
and security.* But fair as was the aspect of the heavens, 
there was inevitable trouble brewing ; the English govern- 
ment, while fully prepared to recognise David as his father's 
lawful successor, did not intend that he should retain Lly- 
welyn's conquests. To abstain from robbing the redoubtable 
lion of Gwynedd of his prey was one thing ; to allow it to 
pass, with no effort at recovery, into the jaws of the lion-whelp 
was quite another. The chief territories in dispute were Car- 
digan, claimed by Earl Gilbert of Pembroke under a royal 
grant,^ Mold, out of which the barons of Montalt had been 
kept for more than forty years,^ Southern Powys, the inherit- 
ance of Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn,^ and Builth, which David 
alleged to be the dowry of his wife, Isabella de Breos.^ Gil- 
bert proceeded at once to make good his claim by despatching 
an army under his brother Walter to the mouth of the Teifi, 
where the keep of Cardigan was rebuilt and English ascend- 
ancy restored, in spite of the resistance of Maelgwn Fychan, 
the Welsh lord of Southern Ceredigion.^ Elsewhere, matters 
were not so easily adjusted, and an attempt was made to re- 

•' Ann. C. MS. B. ; B.T. ; Ann. Theokesb. ; Ann. Wigorn. For the text of the 
agreement then entered into between David and the king see Rymer i. 239-40. 

* He granted a charter as " princeps Northwalliae " to Basing^erk at Coles- 
hill on 25th July, 1240, when he was accompanied by the^bishop of St. Asaph, 
Ednyfed Fychan and Einion Fychan (Mon. Angl. v. 263). 

•' See p. 674 for its capture by Llywelyn. 

•^ See p. 590. Robert of Montalt had meanwhile been succeeded by his 
brother, Roger (d. 1232), and he by his son, Roger. The family at this time 
lived at Hawarden (Ann. Cest. s.a.). 

' See p. 650. * See p. 670. 

^Ann. C. MSS. B. C. ; B.T. Earl Gilbert, already lord of Pembroke and 
Nether Went, received on 9th December, 1234, a grant of the castles of Cardigan 
and Carmarthen (Charter Rolls, i. 189), and on 28th February, 1235, the custody 
of the honour of Glamorgan (Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 96), " ita ut totam maritimam 
possideret usque Sancti David " (Ann. Theokesb.). It appears from the pro- 
ceedings recorded in Harl. MS. 6068, /. 8-96 (printed in Str. Flor., appendix 
xx-xxiv. — the true year is 24, not 25 Hen. HI.) that he not only seized Cardigan 
in May, 1240, but also attempted, without success, to make Maelgwn Fychan his 

22 * 


CHAP, cover the lost lands by negotiation with David, who fenced 
with the question as long as he was able. 

He was by no means so well placed for maintaining a 
struggle of this kind as his father had been. On the death of 
John the Scot in June, 1237, leaving no heir, the earldom of 
Chester had reverted to the crown,^^ and the city on the Dee, 
which had hitherto been, under Earl Ranulf and his nephew, 
an outpost of the Welsh power, became and permanently re- 
mained an aggressive centre of royal influence. The justiciar 
of Chester was now a royal official, and from 1240 to 1245 
the post was held by John Lest range, a Shropshire baron who 
was ever active in the king's service.^^ There was another re- 
spect in which David was at a disadvantage ; he had not the 
confidence of all his fellow-princes, and a little later a number 
of them openly espoused the cause of Gruffydd. Nevertheless, 
he did his best to postpone the day of reckoning. In his 
anxiety to secure the recognition of his title by the king, he 
had agreed at Gloucester to submit the matter of the disputed 
lands to a body of arbitrators, partly English and partly Welsh, 
with the pope's legate. Otto, at their head.^^ He had thus 
furnished his opponents with a weapon of which they were 
not slow to avail themselves, and for twelve months the 
burden of the English letters is the difficulty of inducing David 
to carry out the arbitration proposal. A meeting of the ar- 
bitrators was perhaps held at London on 7th December,^^ but, 
if so, it did not complete its work, and an effort was made to 
secure another meeting at Worcester in February, 1241, when 
it was proposed to fill the places of two members of the body 
who had gone abroad. David ignored this proposal and was 
then cited to appear at Shrewsbury on 17th March.^* When 
this day arrived, he was again absent and unrepresented, and 

iMn«. Cest.; Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 184, 185. 

11 He was appointed on 6th December, 1240 (Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 240) and re- 
placed by John de Gray at the end of October, 1245 [Aym. Cest.). 

i^Rymer i. 239. The arbitrators appointed were the legate, the bishops of 
Worcester, Norwich and St. Asaph, Earl Richard of Cornwall, John of Mon- 
mouth, Ednyfed Fychan and Einion Fychan. 

^^ Ibid. i. 240 (letter of 30th November, 1240). 

^^Ibid. (letter of igth February). The king was at Worcester on ioth-i4th 
February. The Earl of Cornwall had gone on crusade in the previous summer 
and the legate left England in January, 1241. For David's safe-conduct to 
Worcester see Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 242, and for that to Shrewsbury, ibid. 246. 


the government were emboldened to set up judicial proceed- CHAP 
ings, hearing the complaints of the dispossessed lords and de- 
claring the case settled against David by default.^* This was 
a false move, for the prince made haste to point out that it 
substituted law for the promised arbitration, and on 28th April 
his envoys succeeded in replacing the matter on its original 
basis.^® None the less did he prove a defaulter on the new 
day fixed for the trial of the issue, namely, i6th June, when 
the parties were to meet at Montford on the Severn. ^^ 

The king's patience was now exhausted,^^ and at the be- 
ginning of August he appeared in the western counties with a 
force for the subjugation of David.^® That prince was almost 
wholly bereft of allies, for he had against him, not only the 
claimants whom he was keeping out of possession, Roger of 
Montalt, Grufifydd ap Gwenwynwyn, and Ralph Mortimer,^" 
but also Gruffydd ap Madog of Northern Powys, Maredudd 
ap Rhotpert, and Maelgwn Fychan. On 12th August, at 
Shrewsbury, Henry granted the petition of the wife of the 
imprisoned Gruffydd that, if the release of her husband could 
be brought about, he should have his due share of Gwynedd, 
and the other princes gave their cordial support to this pro- 
posal for the diminution of the territories of David.^^ The 
army moved on to Chester,^^ invaded Tegeingl, and by the 
end of the month was at Rhuddlan, having encountered no 
resistance. Some preparations, such as the razing to the 

^5 The judges were the Bishop of Lichfield, Segrave, William Cantilupe 
and John Lestrange, appointed on 5th March (ibid. 246). An entry in Rot. Fin. 
i. 342 shows that, among other business, the court upheld the claim of Llywelyn 
Fychan and Owain Fychan of Mechain (see p. 683) to Mochnant Uch Rhaeadr, 
held by David (see the reference in Rymer, i. 242) with the bulk of Powys 

1* Rymer, i. 241. 

1'' For the safe-conduct granted on this occasion see Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 252. 

^*'An ultimatum was sent on 14th July (Rymer i. 242). 

^*The men of the counties controlled by John Lestrange, viz., Cheshire, 
Shropshire, and Staffordshire, were warned on 13th July to be in readiness, 
and on 6th August Henry was at Shrewsbury (Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 254, 255). 

^•^ The lands of Ralph were being harassed by certain Welsh chiefs of Kerry 
and Maelienydd in alliance with David — see M. Paris, Chron. iv. 319-20. 

^^ M. Paris, Chron. iv. 316-18 and Charter Rolls, i. 262-3. 

22 According to Ann. Cest. the king reached Chester about 15th August. He 
was certainly there from the igth to the 24th (Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 257-8). His 
stay at Rhuddlan lasted eight days (Ann. Cest.), i.e., no doubt, from 25th August 
tp 1st September. On 2nd September he was again in Chester. 


CHAP, ground of Degannwy,'-^ were made to receive the onslaught, 
* but the prince of Gwynedd was placed at the king's mercy by 
the defection of an ally which had rarely failed a Welsh chief 
in the hour of his need, namely, the Welsh climate. The 
summer was one of remarkable drought ; marshes were dried 
up, rivers became fordable, lakes shrank into shallow pools, and 
the ordinary natural obstacles to a Welsh expedition almost 
wholly disappeared.^* The royal troops moved so easily across 
the great marsh of Rhuddlan that David was in danger of 
being cut off from his Snowdonian base;'-^* on the 29th he 
made a complete surrender to the king at Gwern Eigron on 
the river Elwy "'^ and the bloodless campaign was at an end.^'^ 
Henry had no wish to deprive his obstinate nephew of his 
position as prince, but in other respects the terms were hard. 
Hardest of all was the requirement that Gruffydd, with his son 
Owain and the other companions of his captivity, should be 
delivered to the king, with the prospect of his establishment 
as independent ruler of some portion of North Wales. All 
the conquests of Llywelyn, including Mold, Southern Powys, 
and Meirionydd,^^ were to be restored to their rightful owners, 
and all homages of Welsh chiefs who ought to hold directly 
from the crown were to be relinquished. As a penalty for his 
resistance, David was to pay the expenses of the war and to 
lose Ellesmere and Tegeingl. The peace was ratified in 
London soon after Michaelmas, when the defeated prince 
attended a gathering of magnates and agreed to a further 
sacrifice, giving up Degannwy in discharge of the claim for 
expenses ; '^'^ in the course of a few months the new order of 

^^Ann. C. MS. C. " m. Paris, Chron. iv. 150 ; cf. 176-7. 

26 it David . . . exclusus ab exercitu regis a Snaudonia subdidit se " (Ann. 
Wigorn. s.a.). 

^8 M. Paris, Chron. iv. 321-3 ; Rymer, i. 242-3, and Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 264. 
" Alnetum" translates the Welsh "gwern " (alder grove) and no doubt stands for 
Gwern Eigron (so Cal. Pat. Rolls), now a couple of miles south of Rhuddlan. 
The alders formerly stretched as far north as Pengwern. 

'*'"' Sine sanguinis effusione" (Paris). 

28 Restored, according to Ann. C. MS. B. and B.T., to the sons of Mare- 
dudd ap Cynan, who died in 1212. Rot. Fin. i. 371 shows that the two brothers, 
both called Llywelyn, agreed to pay ;^8o for the restoration of the cantref. They 
were distinguished as Llywelyn Fawr and Llywelyn Fychan (Mont. Coll. i. 255). 
Both supported David in 1245 (Rymer, i. 258). 

2** The undated document in Rymer, i. 243, seems to belong to the visit to 
London in October mentioned by Ann. Camb. MS. B., B.T., and Paris, Chron. 
iv. 150-1. 


things, rightly regarded by Henry as a great triumph for the CHAP, 
royal authority,^^ was firmly established in Wales. Roger of 
Montalt was in possession of his fortress of Mold ; ^^ Grufifydd 
ap Gwenwynwyn, married to a daughter of John Lestrange, 
ruled peacefully in Southern Powys ; ^^ Degannwy had been 
placed in charge of the justiciar of Ireland ; ^^ Gruffydd ap 
Madog had been rewarded with an exchequer pension ; ^* in 
Tegeingl a new castle, to take the place of Rhuddlan, was 
built by the king's orders on the rock of Maelan above the 
church of Diserth.^^ South Wales was no less completely 
subdued ; the death of Earl Gilbert from injuries received in a 
tournament in June, 1241, enabled Henry to resume posses- 
sion of Cardigan and Carmarthen ; ^^ John of Monmouth, the 
royal lieutenant in the southern march, made himself master 
of Builth,^'^ and Maredudd ap Rhys Gryg was ordered to with- 
draw from the commotes of Kidwelly and Widigada.^^ 

David's first bid for greatness and power had thus been 
unsuccessful, and he had to content himself with a narrower 
platform than the one he had at first marked out for the exer- 

30 '< Exemplum de Wallia . . . ubi nuper feliciter triumphavimus " (Paris, iv. 

^1 It was at first taken over by the crown, but on 6th May, 1242, Roger of 
Montalt was made its keeper (Cal. Pat. Rolls, i, 288), and on 25th May, 1244, 
the actual holder (ihid. 426). 

32 In August, 1 241, he agreed to pay 300 marks for his father's lands {JRot. 
Fin. i. 350-1). On 24th February, 1242, he was allowed to give his wife dower 
in the manor of Ashford in the Peak (Charter Rolls, i. 266), which had been given 
to him, as the son of Gwenwynwyn, in 1232 (Close Rolls, ii. 70). 

33 Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 265 (29th October, 1241). ^* Ibid. 268. 

35 The site is described as " forti rupe iuxta disserth " {Ann. C. MS. B.) and 
" (k)astell y garrec yn ymyl y Disserth" (B.T.). It is clearly the "new place" 
near Rhuddlan provided as a gift by Lestrange — see letter of 3rd September, 
1241, in Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 258, and appears for a while as " Castellum de Rupe " 
— see ibid. 267, 278, 279, where the identification with Beeston is a mistake. 
The rock, still crowned vdth the ruins of Henry's fortress, bore the names of 
Dincolin (Penn. ii, 117 — see Domesd. i. 2690 (2)) and Carreg Faelan (B.T. 
s.a. 1263, MS. E. ; for the name Maelan see W. Phil (2), 202, 380). 

3« The earl held at his death the castles of Chepstow (Striguil), Usk, Caerleon, 
Pembroke, Cilgerran, Cardigan and Carmarthen (Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 254), but 
the last two were not regranted to his successor (M. Paris, Chron. iv. 158 and 
Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 265). 

'^'' B.T. and Ann. C, MS. B. In the latter the words •' a domino Johanne 
de monemu in buelth et " have slipped out of the printed text. 

38 Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 289 ; Carmarthen Charters (Carmarthen, 1878), p. 43. 
Widigada was regarded as a parcel of the lordship of Carmarthen ; it lay east of 
the Gwili, 


CHAP, cise of his authority. Henry, having secured his main objects, 
spared him the last humiliation of having to divide his shrunken 
realm with Gruffydd, who only exchanged a Welsh for an 
English prison, being still kept in confinement. But the pos- 
session of Gruffydd was an element in the contest of which 
David could not overlook the decisive importance ; the king 
had at his disposal a popular rival who could at any time be 
sent to Wales to dislodge his brother, and accordingly the 
policy of the prince of Gwynedd for the next two years is one 
of prudence and self-restraint. Wales is at peace and its 
chronicles are uneventful ; the princes of Powys are friendly 
to the English authority, while those of Deheubarth, Maelgwn 
of Is Aeron, Maredudd ab Owain of Uwch Aeron, and Rhys 
Mechyll ap Rhys Gryg of Dinefwr, not strong enough to stand 
alone, are reduced to inaction by the want of a leader.^® In 
Glamorgan, there is a new lord, the young Earl Richard of 
Gloucester, who sets himself to compose the feuds between 
the Welsh chiefs and the barons of his lordship.*" 

An unhappy accident in the Tower of London, early on 
the morning of St. David's Day, 1244, at once altered the 
aspect of affairs and threw Wales again into confusion.*^ 
Gruffydd grew weary of his long confinement, lightened though 
it was by a liberal royal allowance and the companionship of 
his wife, and resolved to make a dash for freedom. His 

'* For mention of these princes see Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 242, 243, 279. Mael- 
gwn in 1242 built the castle of Garth Grugyn, which was certainly in Ceredigion 
{Mab. 140) and perhaps near Llanilar (Evans, Rep. i. p. 724, in a list of castles by 
Dr. J. D. Rhys). The distribution of commotes between him and Maredudd is 
not easily ascertained, but about 1240 he seems to have held Mefenydd {Ann. C. 
MS. B. s.a. 1236), Perfedd (Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 488 — Llanbadarn Fawr was in 
this commote), and probably Creuddyn (Rot. Claus. ii. 73), while Maredudd had 
Geneu'r Glyn and Iscoed (Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 493), Gwinionydd and Mabwnion 
{ibid. 487 and Charter Rolls, i. 475), and Pennardd {Ann. C. ut supra). Rhys 
Mechyll had succeeded his father at Dinefwr in 1234 ; he married Maud de Breos 
(of the line of Gower?) and died early in 1244 {Ann. C. MS. B. and B.T.), 
leaving a son Rhys and other children (Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 422). 

*° Richard, who married Maud, daughter of the Earl of Lincoln, in January, 
1238 (Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 208), came of age in 1243 and on 28th September re- 
ceived his lands {Ann. Theokesb.). For quarrels between Hywel ap Maredudd, 
lord of Miskin, Rhys ap Gruffydd, lord of Senghenydd, and Gilbert Turbeville, 
lordof Coety, see Ann. Theokesb. s.a. 1242. 

^1 M. Paris, Chron. iv. 295-6, whose account is confirmed by Ann. C. MS. B., 
B.T. and Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 424. Ann. C. MS. C. is suspicious — " sive dolo seu 
aliter ignoratur," but, as the event showed, Henry stood to lose, and not to gain, 
by the death of Gruffydd. 


chamber was high in the great keep, which, then as now, was CHAP 
the central feature of the capital fortress of the realm, and his 
plan was to let himself down from his window, under cover 
of night, by means of an improvised rope fashioned out of 
torn sheets, tablecloths and hangings. Unfortunately, he did 
not allow for the weight of a particularly bulky body, made 
unwieldy by the torpor of a comfortable captivity ; the rope 
gave way and he fell to the ground from a height which meant 
instant death. The break of day disclosed his shattered corpse 
and told the story of the tragedy to the negligent warders of 
the Tower.^^ 

Before many weeks had elapsed, the effect of this removal 
of Gruffydd from the scene was apparent in the renewed activity 
of David, who entered into an alliance with all the Welsh chiefs 
except the two Gruffydds of Powys and Morgan ap Hywel of 
Gwynllwg and reopened the conflict with the English.*^ Ac- 
cording to the Welsh chronicles, he was stirred to indignation 
at the lamentable fate of his brother, but it needs little shrewd- 
ness to see that the calamity in the Tower was in truth a 
great deliverance for him and removed the one obstacle to a 
bold and enterprising policy. There could not be, in short, 
an apter illustration of the saying of Giraldus, that the Welsh 
princes showed far more affection for their brothers when 
they were dead than when they were alive.** Before the 
beginning of June, David was in the field, stirring up war 
throughout the length and breadth of Wales, and the summer 
was one of unrest and strife ; there were nightly raids upon 
English territory,*^ Diserth was almost cut off from its base at 
Chester, and the English leanings of Gruffydd ap Gwen- 
wynwyn were punished by an invasion of Cyfeiliog.*^ By a 

^"^ In 1248 Gruflfydd's body was taken by the abbots of Strata Florida and of 
Aberconwy from London and reinterred in the latter abbey (B.T. s.a.). 

■** M. Paris, Chron. iv. 358 (" tempore vernali "). The war was general as 
early as 3rd June — see Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 427. For the dissident princes see 
Ann. C. MS. B. and B.T., and cf. Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 430 (concessions for 
Gruffydd ap Madog), and Letters, H. IIL ii. 38. "Morgan de Karliun" (Cal. 
Pat. Rolls, i. 447) was still kept out of the castle which gave him his name by 
the power of the Marshalls ; his castle of Machen was also seized by Gilbert 
Marshall in 1236, but subsequently restored {B.T.; Rymer i. 223, 229, 230; Cal. 
Pat. Rolls, i. 160). 

** Descr. ii. 4 (vi. 212). 

*' M. Paris, Chron. iv. 385 (" praecipue noctibus "). 

•»« Letters, H. IIL ii. 38-40. " Walwar" is Tafolwern, for which see p. 510. 


CHAP, bold stroke of policy which bespeaks a mind of some origin- 
^^^* ality and resource, the prince of Gwynedd brought a new 
power into the arena and successfully appealed to Innocent 
IV. for support against the English king.*^ It was with no 
small surprise that in the autumn Henry received a summons 
from the abbots of Cymer and Aberconwy, duly appointed 
as papal commissioners, which cited him to the border church 
of Caerwys, there to defend himself against the charge of 
having in 1241 wantonly cast aside arbitration in favour of 
war. He had no thought of obeying the citation, but he 
could not entirely ignore it ; his envoy to the pope was forth- 
with primed with the royal version of the facts, and in 1245 
came back with a new document, transferring the case from 
Welsh into English hands and revealing not obscurely the 
influence of the weightier purse. 

At first Henry does not seem to have taken the Welsh 
revolt very seriously. His easy victory over David in 1241 
had misled him ; he failed to realise how fortuitous it was. 
Being much engrossed this year in a design upon the Scottish 
king, he left the border warfare to the Earls of Gloucester 
and of Hereford (the latter's son was now lord of Brecknock) 
and the two wardens of the march, John of Monmouth and 
John Lestrange.*^ Even when, in August, a peace with 
Scotland set him and his army free for other business, he did 
not attack Wales, as was expected,*^ but despatched instead 
a small force of knights under Herbert fitz Mathew, Another 
expedient adopted by him, which proved altogether ineffective, 
was to release Owain the Red, the eldest son of the dead 
Gruffydd, and send him to Wales in the hope he might win 
adherents from the revolted David.^** With the turn of the 
year, however, Henry began to see that a really formidable 
movement was on foot, such as no half measures could quell, 

••^See the documents in M. Paris, Chron. iv. 398-9 (Genoa, 26th July, 1244), 
and Rymer, i. 255 (Lyons, 8th April, 1245 (not 1244)). I cannot explain the 
" Gustefend" of Luard's text. It should be observed that the letter of 1244 will 
scarcely sustain the edifice Paris seeks to build upon it, though it is possible that 
David attempted, as he alleges, to do far more than recover lost lands. 

48 M. Paris, Chron. iv. 358; Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 431-2. 

^» Paris, iv. 385-6. 

5" Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 446, 462. Owain Goch was the eldest son (Ann, Cest. 
f.a. 1255 ' ^' Paris, iv. 321 — " filio suo primogenito "). 


for it had the active backing of nearly all the magnates of CHAP 
Wales/^ and David as their leader made his presence felt in 
every quarter of the country. The king resolved to undertake 
a regular campaign against the Welsh as soon as the season 
allowed, and ordered the justiciar of Ireland to accumulate 
provisions for the purpose.^"^ 

The Welsh continued to win successes during the spring. 
On 5th February Herbert fitz Mathew was struck by a stone 
as he was threading a pass between Margam and Aberavan 
and fell a victim to the fury of the warriors of Rhwng Nedd 
ac Afan.^^ A victory of the English near Montgomery, where 
300 Welshmen were drawn into an ambush and slain,^* was 
more than counterbalanced by the loss of Mold, taken by 
David from Roger of Montalt on 28th March. ^^ These 
disasters quickened the resolve of Henry to undertake a set 
campaign against the Welsh ; in June the knighthood of the 
realm was summoned to the border,^® and the imminent 
danger of Diserth ^'^ led the king to plan an expedition to 
Degannwy, which he proposed so to fortify as effectually to 
shield the northern coast from the attacks of the men of 
Gwynedd, He arrived at Chester with a strong force on 1 3th 
August, and, after a week's delay, pushed on for the banks of 
the Conway, where he pitched his camp on the 26th.^^ Here 
he remained for two months, occupying his energies, as in 

*^The list of David's allies at the beginning of 1245 (Rymer, i. 258) includes 
the following ; the two Llywelyns of Meirionydd ; Owain ap Bleddyn, Elise ab 
lorwerth, and Gruffydd ab Owain, of the line of Owain Brogyntyn ; Llywelyn ap 
Gruffydd (the future prince of Wales) ; Maredudd and lorwerth ap Madog of 
Maelor and their brother Madog Fychan ; Madog ap Gwenwynwyn ; Llywelyn 
Fychan and the sons of Owain Fychan of Mechain ; Owain ap Hywel of Kerry ; 
Maelgwn Fychan, Maredudd ab Owain, Maredudd ap Rhys Gryg and the sons of 
Rhys Mechyll in Deheubarth ; Rhys ap Gruffydd, Hywel ap Maredudd and the 
son of Morgan Crookback in Glamorgan. In Harl. MS. 6068, by George Owen 
of Henllj's this list is disguised as one of " barons of North and South Wales 
who did homage to the king" (Owen, Cat. 450). 

^2 Rymer, i. 258 (Westminster, loth January). 

^'^ Ann. Camb. MS. C; Ann. ad 1298 (" prope Margan in die beatae 
Agathae virginis"); Paris, Chron. iv. 408-9; Rot. Fin. i. 430 (order of 12th 

^* Paris, Chron. iv. 407, 409. 5' Ibid. 409 ; An7i. Cest. s.a, 

'<^ Rymer, i. 260 ; Paris, iv. 423. ^^ Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 456. 

^'^Ann. Cest. has the following itinerary — Chester, i3th-20th August; 
Coleshill, 2ist ; Whitford, 22nd and 23rd ; Rhuddlan, 24th ; Abergele, 25th 
Degannwy, 26th, 


CHAP, earlier campaigns, in the building of a great fortress and 
exposing his troops to the weakening and demoralising influ- 
ence of a persistent and harassing succession of attacks from 
the Welsh side of the river. A letter written from the king's 
camp about a month after the arrival at Degannwy has been 
preserved in the pages of Matthew Paris,^^ and it reveals to 
us, as in the cold, clear photography of the lightning flash, 
the weird scene on the shores of " old Conway's foaming 
flood " — the desperate valour of the Welsh, the fears, hopes, 
and hardships of the invaders, the rough chances of battle. 
"We dwell here," says the writer, "in watchings and fastings, 
in prayer, in cold and nakedness. In watchings, for fear of 
the Welsh, with their sudden raids upon us by night. In 
fastings, for lack of victuals, since the halfpenny loaf cannot 
be got for less than fivepence. In prayer, that we may quickly 
return safe and sound to our homes. In cold and nakedness, 
for we live in houses of linen and have no winter clothes." 
With a hostile country all around, the army was dependent 
for its supplies upon what could be borne by sea, from Chester 
and from Ireland,^" and this was a precarious method of pro- 
visioning, liable to break down in the hour of need. Our 
correspondent tells how an Irish vessel with a cargo of wine 
was clumsily steered, as it entered the estuary, into a sand- 
bank on the Welsh side of the Conway, where, on the retreat 
of the tide, it lay at the mercy of the enemy. Welsh and 
English fought over the stranded ship for some twenty-four 
hours, but ultimately the former carried off most of the sixty 
casks of precious liquor and burnt half of the vessel itself 
Such accidents explain how at one time there was but a single 
cask of wine in the whole camp, while a load of corn cost 
twenty shillings, a fat ox three or four marks, and a hen eight 

The war was waged on both sides with ruthless severity. No 
respect was paid by the English to the sanctity of Aberconwy, 
the Cistercian house which stood near the rock now occupied 
by Conway Castle, almost opposite to Degannwy ; its church 

69 iv. 481-4. 

•"* For the use made of the resources of Ireland see Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 461, 
(21st October) ; Historic and Municipal Documents of Ireland (Rolls Series, 1870) 
i. 103-4. 


was rifled of all it contained and the outbuildings set on fire. CHAP 
The English slaughter of noble prisoners, including a young 
son of Ednyfed Fychan,^^ led to cruel reprisals ; captive knights 
were hanged, beheaded, and torn asunder. Heads of Welshmen 
were brought in to the camp as trophies after every English 
victory. Anglesey was ravaged and despoiled of its crops of 
corn by an Irish force. ^^ Yet David, protected by the mighty 
barriers of the Snowdonian range, still obstinately refused to 
yield, and on the 26th of October ^^ the king, seeing that the 
impending winter must ere long add enormously to his losses, 
already sufficiently great, resolved to withdraw and leave the 
final conquest of Gwynedd to be achieved another year. It 
was a confession of failure,""* but yet no outright triumph for 
David, for whom the new castle of Degannwy was, as Paris 
phrases it, a " thorn in the eye " ^'^ and a pledge of the speedy 
renewal of the struggle. Ere he left the border, Henry set a 
new justiciar over Cheshire in the person of John de Gray,*^^ 
and gave orders for a strict embargo on all trade with Wales, 
especially upon the carriage thither of the corn, salt, iron, steel, 
and cloth which the country itself could not supply."^ 

Ere the conflict could be reopened, death intervened and 
closed it by the removal of the Welsh protagonist. On Sun- 
day, 25th February, 1246, David died at his court of Aber in 
Arllechwedd,"^ leaving by his wife Isabella no son or daughter 
to transmit his claims.^^ He was buried with his father in 

"^ So I understand the " filium Odonis Naveth " of Paris (iv, 482), a learned 
embellishment, no doubt, of the original " f. Odonaveth". 

^2 Paris, iv. 486 ; Ann. Wigorn. s.a. Cf. the lines of Dafydd Benfras — 
" Dyfod hyd attaw dyhedd Iwerddon 
I farchogaeth Mon dirion diredd " (Myv. Arch. I. 316 (223)). 

^■^Ann.Cest. The king re-entered Chester on the 27th. 

•'^The somewhat complacent tone of M. Paris (iv. 486 — " securus enim 
erat," etc.) needs the correction supplied by Ann. Cest. (" parum proficiens ") and 
Ann. Dunst, (" pertaesus . . . rediit "). 

85 "Quasi spina in oculo" (iv. 486). ^^ Ann. Cest. ; Ann. Dunst. 

^"^ Paris, ut supra ; Rymer, i. 264. Cf. Gir. Camb. vi. 218 (Descr. ii. 8). 

^^ Ann. C. MS. B. ; B.T.; Ann. Cest. (whence the date); Ann. Wigorn. 
(read " dominica " for " die "). 

8** Isabella's claim to Builth as her dowry was never conceded by the crown, 
but after her husband's death she received out of the Marshall estates, in right 
of her mother Eva, the castle of Haverfordwest, with lands in Caerleon and 
Glamorgan {Rot. Fin. i. 458-9). On i8th August, 1246, arrangements were made 
for bringing the stock which fell to her as a widow under Welsh law from Wales 
to the land of the Earl of Gloucester (Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 485). 


CHAP. Aberconwy, the house which had suffered such loss as the 
penalty of loyalty to his cause. Whether he could have per- 
manently maintained his position against the power of Henry 
must remain an open question ; this, at any rate, may be said 
of him, that during his brief reign he showed himself, in 
courage, prudence, and leadership, no unworthy son of the 
great Llywelyn. The chronicler mourned the loss of the 
" buckler of Wales " ''" and Dafydd Benfras set his harp to 
plaintive strains in honour of the fallen chief — 

He was a man who sowed the seed of joy for his people, 

Of the right royal lineage of kings. 

So lordly his gifts, 'twas strange 

He gave not the moon in heaven 1 

Ashen of hue this day is the hand of bounty, 

The hand that last year kept the pass of Aberconwy.^* 

II. Wales Again in Subjection. 

The gallant effort of David at independence was succeeded 
in Wales by a period of depression and subjection to which no 
parallel is to be found without going back to the days of Henry I. 
Henry III. might well suppose he had repeated the achieve- 
ment of his namesake and reduced the country to complete 
dependence upon the power of the crown. Half of Gwynedd 
was in the hands of the king, the other half divided between 
two (as yet) insignificant princes. Powys was ruled by two 
lords who gave little trouble to their neighbours ; the remnants 
of the kingdom of Deheubarth belonged to various descendants 
of the Lord Rhys, of whom the most enterprising, Maelgwn 
Fychan, had been humbled to the dust. Such was the plight 
of Wales for some ten years, from the death of David to the 
appearance of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd as a national leader. It 
was a time during which the sense of national solidarity was 
for the moment lost, and what remains to tell is but the good 
and evil hap of each individual prince and each separate 

In Gwynedd a succession question at once arose. The 
only male descendant of Llywelyn ab lorwerth on the spot was 
the young bearer of that great name, the second son of 

'0 " lUe clipeus Wallie" (Ann. C. MS. B.). 

71 Myv. Arch. I. 316-7 (222-3). I have altered the order of the lines. 


Gruffydd/"^ but his elder brother Owain, who had latterly been CHAP, 
living under the king's protection at Shotwick, near Chester/' 
no sooner heard of the death of his uncle than he fled like a 
hare, in the picturesque phrase of Paris, into the recesses of 
Wales and made ready to push his claimJ* Wise counsellors, 
among whom may perhaps be reckoned Ednyfed Fychan, 
rendering to his country a last service ere his death, ''^ averted 
the impending conflict and persuaded the two young men to 
divide Gwynedd between them/^ The domestic problem 
having been thus settled, there remained the question of rela- 
tions with the crown. Owain and Liywelyn inherited with their 
new honours the burden of the struggle with the English king, 
and during the year 1 246 the war went on without intermission. 
No royal host repeated the somewhat hazardous experiment 
of the previous autumn, but Nicholas of Meules, seneschal 
of Cardigan and Carmarthen, having conducted a successful 
campaign in South Wales, led his army across the Dovey and 
appeared in regions which had not seen an English host in 
battle array for more than a hundred and twenty years." The 
Welsh retreated before him into the wilds of Eryri ; he passed 
through Meirionydd, Ardudwy, and the Conway valley without 
opposition, and finally reached his goal at Degannwy. His 
operations from this centre against Owain and Liywelyn were 
unsuccessful, but his unobstructed march, upon which he was 
accompanied by Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn, showed that the 
king had Gwynedd below Conway in his grip, and thus paved 
the way for the agreement of the following spring. 

After concluding a truce with John de Gray, the royal 

"'"^ Mentioned as a magnate of North Wales in 1245 (" Lewelino f. Griffini" 
— Rymer, i. 258). 

''s Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 465. ^4 Parjs, iv. 518 ; Ann. Cest. 

'''* According io Ann. Cest. " Ideneueth Justiciarius Wallie " died in 1246, 
and this is confirmed by entries in Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 461, 496, showing he was an 
envoy for David in October, 1245, but had died before January, 1247. 

''^ Ann. C. MS. B.; B.T.; Ann. Cest. The distribution of commotes be- 
tween the two brothers cannot be ascertained, except that Liywelyn had Penllyn 
— see his charter to Basingwerk, dated 8th April, 1247, in Charter Rolls, ii. 291 
— and Tindaethwy — see his charter to Penmon, dated 6th January, 1247, in Mon. 
Angl. iv. 582. 

■'Mnn. C. MSS. B. C. ; B.T. Nicholas " de Molis," who had been 
seneschal of Gascony, was made custos of the castles of Cardigan and Car- 
marthen, in succession to John of Monmouth, on 17th August, 1245 (Cal. Pat. 
Rolls, i. 459). 


CHAP, representative at Chester,"^ the young princes met the king at 
' Woodstock, and on 30th April, 1247, agreed to terms which 
remained in force for the next eight years. "^^ They were 
recognised as the rightful rulers of Gwynedd above Conway 
and duly rendered homage for their territories, but were forced 
to abandon all claim to the four cantrefs of the Middle 
Country, '^'^ namely, Rhos, Rhufoniog, Tegeingl, and Dyfifryn 
Clwyd ; Mold, too, was finally resigned and the homages of all 
the minor chieftains of North Wales. The rights of certain 
Welsh supporters of Henry were safeguarded, and among these 
appears later a mysterious Maredudd ap Rhicert, of unknown 
descent, who set up a claim to be heir to the cantref of Lleyn 
and was upheld for many years in this district by the royal 
power. ^^ The Peace of Woodstock was a painful humiliation 
for Gwynedd, after the proud ascendancy she had enjoyed for 
so many years, but the sacrifice of the Middle Country was 
necessary, if the main body of the province was to retain its 
independent life, and the ruthless surgery was ultimately 
followed by a complete recovery of strength. Meanwhile the 
tide of affairs ran a somewhat sluggish course, and the only 
change to record is the appearance on the stage of a third son 
of Gruffydd, named David,*^ who in 1252 was lord of the 
commote of Cymydmaen in Lleyn and in the following year 
was summoned to do homage for his possessions.^^ 

Elsewhere in North Wales there was the weakness which 
comes from division and lack of leadership. Henry retained 
a firm hold of the Middle Country, with its strong castles of 
Diserth and Degannwy, and in 1252 made the latter of these 

" Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 498. 

''^ Rymer, i. 267. For a footnote to the treaty see Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 501. 

^ The '• Pernechelad " of Rymer represents the Welsh " Perfeddwlad ". 

81 '« Mereduc Abricard " was with David in October, 1245 (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 
i. 461), but on 27th January, 1247, " Mereduk son of Res " received a grant of the 
land of" Thlen " in consideration of loyal service {}bid. 496), and the letter of 
Owain and Llywelyn to the king printed in Letters, H. III., ii. 64-6, shows that 
about 1250 " Maredud filius Ricardi de Heyn," a king's man, held great estates of 
the two princes without rendering anything to them. The documents cited in 
Pees. S. Wales, p. 126, appear to refer to this potentate, and not to Maredudd ap 
Rhys of Deheubarth. 

^Rec. Carn. 252 (domino de Kemedmaen). David, who is first mentioned 
(as a hostage) in 1241 (M. Paris, Chron. iv. 317), had with him on this occasion 
(nth July, 1252) his mother Senena and Bishop Richard of Bangor. 

83 Rymer, i. 291 (Portsmouth, 8th July). 


two places a chartered borough, thereby signifying that the CHAP, 
royal power was to be regarded as a fixture in the Creuddyn 
peninsula.^* There was no thought of creating a new Earl of 
Chester ; ^^ on the contrary, the crown was bent upon making 
the most out of this valuable bit of territory, and in 125 1 John 
de Grey was replaced as justiciar by Alan la Zuche, who 
promised to make the Welsh portion of his charge consider- 
ably more profitable to the exchequer. ^^ " Unhappy Wales ! " 
is the not inappropriate comment of Matthew Paris upon this 
transaction. Northern Powys was held by the sons of Madog ap 
Gruffydd,^''' of whom Gruffydd, who had married Emma, a 
daughter of Henry Audley,^^ was the senior, ruling over the 
two Maelors, east and west of the Dee.^^ Southern Powys 
belonged to Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn, who was also married 
to an English wife, namely, Hawise Lestrange, and was lord 
of Cyfeiliog, Mawddwy, Arwystli, Caereinion, Llannerch 
Hudol, Ystrad Marchell, Deuddwr, and Mochnant above the 
Rhaeadr.®^ Cydewain had been restored in 1248 to Owain 
ap Maredudd, the son of its former lord.^^ Meirionydd was in 
the hands of Maredudd ap Llywelyn, of the line of Cynan 
ab Owain Gwynedd.®^ Mechain was divided between three 
brothers, Llywelyn, Owain, and Maredudd ap Llywelyn. ^^ 

^■* Charter Rolls, i. 378-9 ; cf. Eng. Hist. Rev. xvii. (1902), pp. 284, 287-8. 

85 See the notification of loth May, 1247 (Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 501). 

8^ M. Paris, Chron. v. 227 ; cf. Ann. Cest, s.a. 

^'^ The four brothers, Gruffydd, Maredudd, Hywel, and Madog, join in execut- 
ing a document in favour of Valle Crucis in December, 1247, which is witnessed 
by their men of Maelor, lal, Cynllaith, and Mochnant (Is Rhaeadr). See Arch, 
Camb. I. iii. (1848), 228-9, and III. x. (1864), loo-i. 

8^ Trib. System, app. p. 103. She was the widow of Henry Tuschet of Lee 
Cumbray, who died in 1242 (Eyton, Shrops. vii. pp. 343-5). 

*^ He gave to Valle Crucis in 1254 land in Stansty, near Wrexham (Arch. Camb. 
I. i. (1846), 151-2 ; cf. Palmer, Country Townships of Wrexham, 1903, p. 183). 

^° Gruffydd's possessions in 1277-8 are set forth in the deed printed in Mont. 
Coll. i. 124-8. For his wife see note 32. 

91 Rot. Fin. ii. 37. B.T. has O. " ab Rotbert " by mistake. 

92 He died in 1255 (Ann. C. MS. B. ; B.T.), and was, probably, the son of 
the elder " Lewelinof. Mereduc" who recovered Meirionydd in 1241 and was with 
David in 1245 (Rymer, i. 258). 

9^ Bridgman discusses the difficult question of the family history in Mont. Colt. 
i. 197-203. The true key is supplied by Cal. Close R. Ed. I. i. 399, 434, whence 
it appears that Llywelyn ab Owain Fychan (Rot. Pat., 45) had three sons : (i) 
Llywelyn Fychan (Rot. Fin. i. 342 ; Rymer, i. 258) ; (2) Owain ; (3) Maredudd 
(these three appear in Rymer, i. 370 s.a. 1258) and that Llywelyn Fychan left two 
sons, Gruffydd and Maredudd, who shared Mechain Iscoed with their uncles in 1277. 
VOL. II. 23 


CHAP. " Divide and rule " was also the policy of the king's 

' advisers in South Wales. The united front opposed to the 
English power by the princes of Deheubarth did not survive 
the death of David ; in the following April, Maredudd ap 
Rhys Gryg and Maredudd ab Owain made their peace with 
Henry and were forthwith sent to help Nicholas of Meules in 
the task of reducing to obedience the recalcitrant Maelgwn 
Fychan.®* Maelgwn was a prince of some energy and was 
allied by marriage with the chieftains of Meirionydd and 
Cydewain. But the coalition against him wa^ too strong to 
be withstood ; he was forced to seek refuge in North Wales '^ 
and, later in the year, to surrender himself to the king's 
mercy. In November, he was allowed to return to Cere- 
digion, there to keep a sadly diminished state as lord of the 
two commotes of Geneu'r Glyn and Iscoed.^® His men con- 
soled themselves with the thought that, though Maelgwn's 
day was over, his son Rhys was daily growing into the like- 
ness of the ideal deliverer whom they hoped to see hurl back 
ere long the tide of English conquest. But their hopes were 
blasted by Rhys's early death in 1255 ; he and his two sisters 
were, within the space of a few months, laid to rest together 
in the chapter house of Strata Florida.^^ Another South 
Wales chief came to terms with the king in the summer of 
1246. By the death ot Rhys Mechyll in 1244,^^ his son 
Rhys Fychan had become the heir to Dinefwr, but his 
path was beset with many hindrances — the rivalry of his 
uncle, Maredudd,^* the hostility of his mother, Matilda de 

a* B.T. ; M. Paris, Chron. iv. 551 ; Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 479 (27th April). 

8^ According to Ann. C. MS. B., in Meirionydd; it appears from Cal. Pat. 
Rolls, i. 486 (30th August) that he afterwards passed to Southern Powys. 

86 ^»n. C. MS. B. ; Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 493 (25th November). He lived to 
see the revival of Welsh power under Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, but took no part in 
the movement and died in 1257. 

^"^ Ann. C. MS. B. ; B.T. Rhys died at the end of June, 1255, Gwenllian, 
wife of Maredudd ap Llywelyn of Meirionydd, at Llanfihangel y Creuddyn (for 
the form " gelynrot " see Meyrick, Card. 286) on 25th November, 1254, ^nd 
Margaret, wife of Owain ap Maredudd of Cydewain, on 25th September, 1255. 

'^^ Ann. C. MS. B. ; B.T. On 6th April, 1244, the king gave his protection 
to Matilda de Brausa, widow of Res, son of Res, until her children came of age 
(Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 422). Matilda was, no doubt, of the house of Gower. 

89 Maredudd was invested by Gilbert Marshall, about 1240, with the com- 
motes of Emlyn above Cuch and Ystlwyf, probably in succession to Cynan ap 
Hywel — see Cole, Docts. 47-8, and chap, xviii. note 44. He began to claim his 


Breos,^"" and the overshadowing menace of the castle of Car- CHAP, 


marthen. He did homage in the August of this year ^"^ and 
contrived to retain his position as ruler of the ancestral seat of 
Deheubarth notwithstanding all opposition. 

Royal and baronial authority asserted themselves at almost 
every point of vantage in South Wales. In Northern Cere- 
digion the king retained a considerable part of the territory 
of Maelgwn, lying around Llanbadarn Fawr, which he ad- 
ministered through a Welsh bailiff, one Gwilym ap Gwrwared^**^ 
of Cemais. Cemais itself had been recovered for English rule 
by Nicholas fitz Martin.^"^ The great inheritance of the 
Earls Marshalls had, on the death of Anselm, the last of the 
line, in December, 1245,^"* been divided among the numerous 
coheirs who represented the daughters of the house, but the 
English hold upon South Wales was not thereby seriously 
weakened. The king's half-brother, William of Valence, 
became lord of the castle and county of Pembroke ; 1"^ Earl 

hereditary due in 1244 (Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 447 — 27th December), and had ap- 
parently succeeded in getting four commotes before February, 1246, when further 
offers were made to him (ifeirf. 474). In 1250 his lands included the commote 
of Catheiniog in Cantref Mawr and the castle of Llandovery in Cantref Bychan 
(H. and St. i. 476-8). 

^"'See B.T. s.a. 1248, which records the recovery by Rhys of his castle of 
Carreg Cennen (in Iscennen), treacherously handed over by his mother to the 
" French ". 

"1 Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 485 (20th August). 

"Mnn. C. MS. B. and B.T. s.a. 1252. For William, see Letters, Hen. III. 
i. 426, where he appears in 1244 (the true date) as a Pembrokeshire tenant of the 
Earl Marshall; Charter Rolls, i. 347; Meyrick, Card. (2), 206 (pedigree of the 
lords of Tywyn, near Cardigan). 

103 Nicholas, son of William fitz Martin and Angharad, daughter of the Lord 
Rhys (Rot. Fin. i. 144-5), ^^er being in wardship for many years, came to his 
own about 1230. 

^''^ Earl Gilbert had been succeeded by his brother Walter, who died at 
Goodrich Castle towards the end of November, 1245 (M. Paris, Chron. iv. 491 ; 
Ann. C. MSS. B. C. ; Rot. Fin. i. 444). The death of Anselm at Chepstow a 
month later, before he had been invested as earl (Paris, ut supra; Ann. C. MS. 
B. ; Ann. Wigorn.), removed the fifth and last of the sons of the great Earl 
Marshall, none of them, by a singular fatality, leaving any issue. 

"^ Pembroke had at first been assigned, in the general partition, to John, 
son of Warin of Montchensy and Joan, fifth daughter of the first Earl Marshall. 
But he died shortly afterwards, in June, 1247, and his portion passed to his sister 
Joan (Rot. Fin. ii. 14), who in the August of the same year was married to William 
of Valence (M. Paris, Chron. iv. 627-9; Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 506; Sweetman, i. 433) 
William was the fourth son of Count Hugh of La Marche and Isabella of 
Angouleme (whose first husband was King John). According to Tout (Diet. 
Nat. Biog. Ixi. p. 373), it is probable he was never formally created earl. 

23 * 


CHAP. Roger of Norfolk succeeded, in right of his mother, to Chepstow 
^^^' and Nether Went ; ^*"' Earl Richard of Gloucester obtained 
Caerleon and Usk;^°^ Emlyn, with the castle of Cilgerran, 
passed to William Cantilupe.^"^ Cardigan and Carmarthen, 
with their respective districts, the king continued to keep in 
his own possession.^"^ Kidwelly was still in the hands of its 
former mistress, Hawise of London, but her first husband, 
Walter de Breos, was dead, and in 1244 she had married a 
second time, carrying her inheritance, which included the lord- 
ship of Ogmore in Glamorgan, to Patrick of Chaworth.^^** 
William de Breos, having attained his majority, now ruled 
Gower in place of his father John. 

Passing from West Wales to the marchland, one notes the 
strength of the lordship of Glamorgan, ruled since 1 240 by the 
vigorous Richard de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, 
no unworthy scion of that ancient line. He proved his ability 
to hold the Welsh chieftains of his domain in subjection by 
expelling Hywel ap Maredudd from Miskin in 1246, so that 
he was forced to take refuge in Gwynedd and abandon his 
territory to the chief lord.^^^ It was perhaps a result of this 
energetic action that no trouble henceforth arose in the other 
mountain fiefs ; Morgan Crookback was succeeded at Baglan 
by his son Morgan,^^'^ Morgan of Caerleon at Machen by his 

108 He was the son of the eldest daughter, Matilda. 

1" Through his mother, Isabella Marshall. 

1"* Cal. Pat. Rolls, Ed. I. i. 9. William Cantilupe, third in succession of 
that name, married Eva de Breos, whose mother, Eva, was the fourth of the 
Marshall daughters. He died in 1254 (M. Paris, Chron. v. 463), leaving his son 
and heir. George, under age. 

i"" Robert Waleran had the custody of Cardigan and Carmarthen and of the 
former possessions of Maelgwn Fychan on 26th September, 1250 (Rot. Fin. ii. 

110 Walter de Breos married Hawise and obtained the honour of Kidwelly 
and Carnwyllion in July, 1223 (Pat. Rolls, i. 376-7). He died, apparently, during 
the war of 1233-4 ; cf. Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 17 and Close Rolls, ii. 447. The second 
marriage took place early in 1244 {Ann. Theokesb. p. 133), and in the December of 
that year Patrick and his wife fined one hundred marks for the possession of 
Kidwelly {Rot. Fin. i. 410). For Hawise's position in Ogmore see Cart. Glouc. 
i. 284-5 ; Cartae Glam. i. io8, 

"1 B.T. For Hywel see chapter xviii. note log. The conquest of Miskin 
was final, and the earl built there the castle of Llantrisant {Arch. Camb. VI. i. 
(1901), 1-7). 

112 For a list of the fiefs of Glamorgan and their value in the middle of this 
century see Cartae Glam. i. 107-9. Morgan Gam died in February, 1241 {Ann. 


grandson, Maredudd ap Gruffydd/^^ and Rhys ap GrufFydd in CHAP, 
Senghenydd by his son Grufifydd.^^'^ Time was transforming ^ * 
these turbulent raiders into feudal barons, scarcely to be dis- 
tinguished from the Turbevilles of Coety, the Sumerys of 
Dinas Powis, and the Umfravilles of Penmark, among whom 
they lived. 

Like the Marshall estates, the Breos group of lordships had 
been divided among daughters, of whom William de Breos had 
in 1230 left four. Isabella, the widow of David, received 
Haverford ; ^^^ Eleanor, the wife of Humphrey de Bohun, took 
Brecknock as her portion ; Eva, married to William Cantilupe, 
had Upper Gwent and Abergavenny assigned to her ; ^^" Matilda 
enriched her husband, Roger Mortimer, with Radnor.^^'' Builth 
alone was retained by the king in his own hands. It was in 
1246 that Roger, son of Ralph Mortimer, came by his father's 
death into possession of those border manors ^^^ which, with 
Maelienydd, Gwerthrynion, and Radnor, were gradually raising 
the family into a position of high importance and qualifying 
its head for the title of Earl of March. Other changes which 
fall to be recorded among the lesser baronial houses of the 
border are the succession in 1 248 of a new John of Monmouth, 
son of the old bearer of the name,^^^ the marriage of Matilda 
Lacy, heiress of Ewias and Ludlow, first to Peter of Geneva 

Theokesb.), leaving two sons, viz., Lleision ap Morgan (see Cartae Glam. iii. 
429-30; Margam Abb. pp. 256-8) and Morgan Fychan (ob. 1288), who followed 
him in this order in the Welsh lordship of Avan (Margam Abb. pp. 312-13). 

'^3 Morgan of Caerleon, holding the commotes of Edlygion in Gwynllwg and 
Llebenyddin Gwent, but not Caerleon itself, died a little before 15th March, 1248 
(Rot. Fin. ii. 31). There was doubt, at first, as to the legitimacy of Maredudd ap 
Gruffydd (Inq. p. mortem. Hen. HI. p. 36), but the bishop of Llandaff certified 
in 1251 in his favour (H. and St. i. 478-9) and later he is found holding one com- 
mote (i.e. Edlygion) of the Earl of Gloucester at " Machhein " (Cartae Glam. i. 

11^ " Griffid ab Rees tenet ii cummod (i.e. Uwch Caeach and Is Caeach) 
in Seingeniht " (ibid.). Rhys died in July, 1256 (Ann. ad 1298). 

"^ See note 69 above. After her death, the manor of Haverford (i.e., Rhos) 
passed to Humphrey de Bohun the younger, who had married her sister Eleanor 
(Madox, Baronia Anglica, pp. 45-6, note ; Cal. Pat. R. Ed. I. 54). 

"6 Charter Rolls, ii. 41. i" See p. 734. 

"8 For Ralph's death see Ann. C. MS. B., B.T. The castles of Wigmore, 
Cefnllys and Knucklas (Y Cnwc Glas = the Green Hillock) were in the king's 
hands on 2nd October, 1246 (Cal. Pat. Rolls, i. 489). Roger fined 2,000 marks for 
his father's lands on 26th February, 1247 (Rot. Fin. ii. 7-8). 

"« Rot. Fin. ii. 41-2. 


CHAP, and then to Geoffrey of Genville,^^*' and the entry upon his 
lands at Oswestry and Clun of John fitz Alan, whose father 
John died in 1241.^^^ The generation which had witnessed 
the struggle against the tyranny of John and preserved its 
memories was quitting the scene, to be replaced by the actors 
in the great drama of the Barons' War. 

Two of these actors, the interweaving of whose fortunes in 
the web of destiny forms the concluding episode of the present 
narrative, step forward at the close of this period into the fore- 
front of the stage. In 1254 the young Edward was invested 
by his father the king with all the crown possessions in Wales ; 
in 1255 Llywelyn ap Gruffydd became ruler of the whole of 
Gwynedd above Conway. The time was still far distant when 
they were to be the protagonists in a decisive struggle between 
England and Wales, but fate had already in a sense pitted 
them against each other. Born in 1239, the heir to the Eng- 
lish throne was now being carefully provided for ; a marriage 
was arranged for him with a princess of the royal house of 
Castile, and, in order that he might have a suitable appanage,